In every election cycle, American Christians face both amazing opportunities and grave dangers. We are privileged to be a part of those who can choose their own leaders. As people who believe godly leaders are a source of blessing to a nation, this provides us with great opportunity. The dangers arise, however, when we begin to put our hope in leaders rather than the Lord.
God's Word is very clear that we should have an undivided heart and trust only in the Lord. The psalmist tells us: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" (Ps. 20:7).
Awareness of this can create a tension in thinking Christians, and some have overreacted and rejected the political process completely. If that is the case, it will be difficult to be motivated to pray about the elections. A balanced and biblical approach, however, allows us to fully participate in the electoral process without falling into improperly placed trust.
In Paul's great teaching on prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, one of his major thrusts is praying for those in authority. According to Paul's reasoning, we want good government that allows us to live lives that ultimately free us to evangelize those who are lost.
Paul would have been amazed that Christians could one day actually take part in selecting those leaders. He would have been even more amazed (and appalled) that many of those Christians who had this privilege would not even bother to get involved in selecting those leaders for the purposes of God to be fulfilled.
Praying for the electoral process is the first step in seeing the fulfillment of what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy. We should not wait for a leader to be selected before we move into obedient prayer for those in authority. In prayer, we invite the Lord into the process of electing those leaders who will ultimately allow us to "lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Tim. 2:2b).
So why pray for the elections? There are a number of compelling reasons:
- The Bible commands us to pray for those who are in leadership. This should certainly include those who are vying to become leaders.
- Godly leaders can help slow the erosion of religious liberties in our land. This can provide an increased window of opportunity for the church to pray and evangelize.
- According to Scripture, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). The selection of leaders who understand and lead according to God's righteous standards can bring great blessing to a nation.
- Scripture also says, "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Prov. 11:14). The determination of who leads our nation will also determine who advises that leader and how we are guided.
The prayer points below cover seven major areas that relate to our national elections as well as some current flashpoints of important issues.
The suggested topics to pray should be chosen according to your interest and the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that there are more prayer points regarding the church than any other area. That is because "as the church goes, so goes the nation." The Scriptures indicate that judgment begins in the house of God (see 1 Pet. 4:7).
This prayer guide is loosely structured for multiple usage. An individual might pick out a few prayer points from each category and pray those daily. A group might choose to divide the points among its members and cover the entire guide at one prayer gathering. Some families or individuals may want to pray from this guide for months leading up to the election and perhaps even beyond. Ask the Lord to show you how you best should pray. We encourage you to look up the verse with each prayer point; perhaps pray that verse as part of your prayers.
- The Nation and the Issues It Faces
Pray for the judges of this nation, that they would seek the wisdom that comes from above (Deut. 4:8).
Ask the Lord to thwart the efforts of those who would remove religious freedom from our nation (Gal. 5:1).
Pray for truth to become valued again in American society (John 8:32).
Pray that our nation will increasingly see that God is our only refuge in the midst of the troubles of this world (Jer. 33:6).
Pray for our judicial system and lawmakers, that justice for all, tempered by mercy and compassion, would guide our nation (Isa. 1:17).
Repent on behalf of our nation, because we have turned from making Scripture the basis of law, leaving behind wisdom and looking to ourselves for truth (Zech. 7:9).
Ask the Lord to pour out a spirit of repentance on our nation that we might become a nation committed to following His ways (Jer. 29:13).
Pray that the U.S. would repent of its corporate rejection of the Word of God as the basis of law.
Pray that a holy fear of God will sweep across our nation, leading us back to a place of wisdom (Isa. 50:10).
- The Election Process
Pray for a safe and fair election (John 14:1).
Ask the Lord to remove those who might try to unjustly and illegally change the outcome of the voting.
Pray for a huge turnout of voters (Prov. 4:6).
Pray for protection from any attacks from enemies that would prevent or delay the election (Deut. 3:22).
- Candidates and Leaders
Pray for the salvation of those who are in leadership of our nation. Ask the Lord to remove all envy and selfish ambition (James 3:16).
Pray that candidates will take brave stands for righteousness, even when they may not be well received.
Pray that their families will be protected from harm and unnecessary scrutiny (Ps. 9:9).
Ask the Lord to surround them with godly advisers (Prov. 1:7).
Pray that each candidate would focus on the issues we face as a nation and not on personal attacks on other candidates (1 Tim. 1:6).
Stay tuned for Part 2 for three more crucial prayer points.
Dave Butts is the founder and president of Harvest Prayer Ministries, the chairman of America's National Prayer Committee and chairman of the board of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. This prayer guide is taken from his book, With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America. A free PDF download of this guide is available at prayerleader.com/invite-god-into-the-process.
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