I [Jeremy Berg] went to the polling place to cast my votes, and ended up casting non-partisan prayers for all the candidates. As I stood over that ballot with pen in hand, looking at all the names and offices, tears dropped down indiscriminately on the ovals below. I turned that little space into a prayer closet and portal to the King of Kings.
With a heavy heart and zeal for Christ’s people to represent Him in their political engagements, I found the Lord’s Prayer surprisingly powerful and therapeutic. My prayer went something like this, and I offer it to you as you prepare to cast your own vote in the coming days.
Our Father in Heaven: You are on your heavenly throne, sovereign over all nations at all times. In this moment of national frustration and angst, you are still sovereign over history and over this nation.
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven: Oh, we need your Kingdom to break in like never before! Our earthly Kings and Kingdoms are continually botching things up. Somehow, someway, let your will be done through these candidates and offices we’re voting for. As imperfect as these candidates are, guide their efforts in ways that advance the cause of justice. Forgive us for putting some much faith in this earthly kingdom, and neglecting to advance and promote your Kingdom with equal vigor and passion!
Give us this day OUR daily bread: Lord, we are voting today on taxes, the wise distribution of wealth, the poor and the rich, healthcare and minimum wage laws. In one powerful word, you remind us that Christians are to vote in ways that give US OUR daily bread, not give ME MY daily provisions. Help us to vote in ways that put others needs above my own, and to remember that I am my brother’s keeper.
Forgive us our (political) sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (politically): Oh, Lord, we confess all the ways we’ve let politics divide us, and lament all the destruction of relationships over political disagreements. Forgive us for putting more energy into winning arguments than loving our neighbors and (political) enemies. Help us to extend grace to those who have offended us with their different views and attacked us with unfair criticism.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: Lord, the Devil is having a hey-day watching us tear each other apart. The lies and spin and slander and division and anger are delightful in his eyes. Lord, help your people, your church, become wiser to his tactics—“for we are not unaware of his schemes”(2 Cor. 2:11)—and not get pulled into the fray. Keep your church pure and un-compromised as we represent your radically different society and way of being human. Deliver us from political mudslinging and nationalistic idolatry.
For after the polls are closed and all the ballots are counted, and after all the victory celebrations and concession speeches are finished, this all-important truth will remain: The kingdom and the power and the glory [ultimately] belong solely to You forever and ever. Amen.
And that’s good news!
I have never spent that much time at the poll, and as I put on that red sticker and walked out into the crisp Minnesota air, I had the feeling that all the silent prayers of God’s people spread across the political divide will likely prove more effective than all the votes cast in this election.
“The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.” James 5:16