I went on Friday to vote early. To say deciding who to vote for in this election was a struggle is an understatement. I am so disappointed with the candidates we had to chose from, so discouraged in different ways by both of them. I felt I betrayed my conscience in voting for either one of them. I actually considered not voting as a statement of protest. Was I the only one who was feeling this way?
And then last night I sat watching a 60 Minutes Report about a Focus Group that spoke to the mood of the nation in this election and I realized I’m not alone. Frank Luntz, a political consultant and pollster, asked this question to a group of voters, 23 people representing all aspects of the political spectrum, all aspects of economic life, all age groups:
“I want you to describe how you feel about this political process with the election only hours away. I want you to give me a word or phrase.”
Male Voice: Not substantive.
Female Voice: Terrified.
Male Voice: Too long.
Female Voice: Terrified.
Male Voice: It’s rigged.
Male Voice: Exasperating.
Female Voice: Circus.
Male Voice: Disturbed.
Female Voice: Horrifying.
Male Voice: Disheartened.
Male Voice: Annoyed.
Male Voice: Disgusted.
They go on to speak negatively about both candidates. Frank Luntz’s assessment of the conversation was this: “One of the things that struck me is that I knew that there were Republicans, and I knew there were Democrats, and I knew that there were people that– were undecided. But I really couldn’t tell who was who.”
So I’m not the only one feeling discouraged, disappointed and quite frankly a bit angry that this is the best our country can do. And yet, tomorrow, our nation will vote and one of these two candidates will win.
This morning I was reminded of how to respond regardless of which candidate wins…
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
I was reminded that regardless of who wins tomorrow I am called to pray for them… for all who are in positions of leadership. We as people of faith, whether we agree or disagree with those in high positions above us, whether we think they are the best thing or the worst thing that could have happened, we are called to pray for them. Scripture will never tell us who to vote for, but it does tell us to pray for whomever gets elected to office.
In saying this, I hope you don’t just hear a simplistic, Kumbaya nod to “let’s just pray about it.” As Christians we can throw that out, “well, let’s just pray about it,” but not fully enter into the fullness of what we are called into in prayer.
And so I wonder…What if we really started praying? What if we got on our knees as individuals and communities of faith and prayed for the people who are in high positions, who govern us and affect the lives of all of us in this country? What if we started talking and arguing less about politics and started praying more, praying for those issues that are closest to our heart and for the people who make policies that affect those issues. What if we prayed together with people with whom we agree? What if we prayed together with people with whom we disagreed?
Because I don’t fully understand what happens in prayer but Scripture says “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
So if the candidate you vote for doesn’t win tomorrow and it makes so mad you could scream, all the more reason to get down on our knees and pray… pray for growth in character and integrity, pray for wisdom and insight. Because when we pray we profess the belief that God is greater than any candidate or party. When we pray we proclaim the truth that God is ultimately the one in control. When we pray we hold out all that matters most to our heart to the one to holds it all anyway. And prayer works in ways we cannot even understand.
Whether you are with her, or with him, or struggle to be with either of them, remember that our God is a God who is with us! Ultimately our God is the one in control and our prayers to Him are far more powerful than we can comprehend.
So tomorrow, go vote… and then start praying.