Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about the past week.
How to Pray for Election Day
Labor Day may be the symbolic start of the campaign season, but for some Christian political activists, the campaign begins with a 40-day prayer vigil that will culminate before the November elections.
The 40 days of prayer was originally designed by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
The SBC guide provides daily guides to prayer topics and Scripture to read and consider. The guide begins with prayers for revival in the lives of individuals, the church, and the country. Among the topics under "church revival" is "God's Revived People to Register to Vote." The prayer point comes days before registration deadlines in most states. The guide states, "Voting is an indispensable part of responsible Christian citizenship." It recommends praying to God to do the following:
- Burden Christians to want to be involved in the direction of the country.
- Lead church leaders to preach on the importance of Christian involvement in the election.
- Compel Christians to take the time to register to vote.
- Help churches find creative ways to encourage Christians to register to vote.
- Help you talk to Christian friends about the importance of voting.
- Help you get the information needed about the candidates and the issues to be able to vote intelligently.
- Confound the efforts of people who try to stop Christians from getting informed in the churches.
The guide picks up other civic and political topics on October 12, when it gives guidance on prayer for "national renewal." The focus is on public morality issues, including pornography, abortion, "family-friendly" policy, traditional marriage, religious liberty, impartial justice, and "the barbaric practice of embryo-destructive stem-cell research." The final two weeks of prayer focus on public officials (including that God "provide the resources godly candidates need to win elections") and wisdom in voting. The final day focuses on praying for "God's People to Vote." The guide specifically recommends prayer for God to do the following:
- Prevent anything from happening that would prevent you from voting.
- Help churches find ways to help Christians get to the polls to vote.
- Convict Christians of their spiritual responsibility to vote.
- Lead Christians to vote according to biblical values rather than for a party.
- Lead Christians to vote according to biblical values rather than personal benefit.
- Help you understand his will for the future of the country as you prepare to vote.
- Help you share with your church the importance of voting.
The SBC North American Mission Board and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) jointly issued the guide for prayer, which can be done daily or for 40 hours before Election Day. The SBC sponsored a similar vigil in 2008.
The 40-day prayer vigil expanded when Renewing American Leadership (ReAL) scheduled its own prayer event, "Pray & Act," at the same time. ReAL was founded last year by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Pray & Act is led by ReAL and founder of Prison Fellowship Chuck Colson. Pray & Act calls for prayer leading up to the election. People are asked to act by signing the Manhattan Declaration, which states that the key issues of our time are life, marriage, and religious liberty. This week ReAL featured a webcast of a kick-off event for Pray & Act.
Pray & Act is endorsed by scores of pastors as well as leaders of advocacy groups, including Jim Daly (Focus on the Family), Mike Huckabee (former governor of Arkansas), Richard Land (ERLC), Penny Nance (Concerned Women for America), Douglas Napier and Alan Sears (Alliance Defense Fund), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council), Samuel Rodriguez (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference), and Don and Tim Wildmon (American Family Association).