We come before you on this Sunday before a national election, our Father, and seek your face. Between the tragic events in 2001, the two wars that followed, the economic collapse in 2008, and storms like Katrina and Sandy, we have yet to recover our bearings. But the truth is we lost our bearings long before 2001. We need you. We need your favor.
Perhaps we are presumptuous to ask for your favor when we continue to take the life of children in the womb in the name of reproductive freedom. Perhaps we are presumptuous to ask your favor when we seek to redefine marriage rather than reaffirm marriage as you intended it to be. Perhaps we are presumptuous to ask your favor when instead of pulling together to solve our problems we continue to press divisions of race and class, ethnicity and political party. Perhaps we are presumptuous to ask your favor when our culture seems to try to put as much distance between us and you as we can: ashamed to mention your name, embarrassed to call upon you for help, afraid to say the name of Jesus on public property lest someone take us to court. Perhaps we are presumptuous to ask your favor when your church looks more like the world than it does like Christ, when your church is selfish toward those in need and hateful toward those who disagree with us. Perhaps we are presumptuous to ask your favor.
And yet we ask for it anyway, not on the basis of who we are but on the basis of who you are—Almighty God, Lord of the nations, lover of our souls, slow to anger, full of mercy, quick to forgive when we own our sin and repent of it. Please forgive our nation for our sins. Please forgive your church for our sins. Stir your church to a deeper faith, a robust commitment, and a broader love. Remember your pledge to Abraham that you would spare even Sodom had you found ten righteous people in the city. Please help your church in America to be righteous without being self-righteous and bold without being brash. Help us, as your prophet Micah declared, to do justice and love mercy and walk humbly with you. Revive us, Lord.
Give us wisdom as we elect our leaders and vote on issues this week. Thank you for the privilege of casting our ballot. Thank you for these freedoms. Thank you for those who have paid the highest price to make this so. And give us peace no matter who wins on Tuesday. Remind us that no ruler comes to power without your sovereign say so. Remind us that our nation and our world are in your hands and that your hands are good, that you have a plan and are working your plan. Your will be done this week. Our hope is in you, Lord, not our government. We trust you.
But whatever happens and whomever is elected, may our soldiers be able to come home soon from Afghanistan, may the unemployed find new opportunities for work so they can be self-sufficient again, may the poor receive the assistance they need, may Hurricane Sandy’s victims find relief, and may our government leaders work together for the common good of us all. We need your favor, Lord, because without you, we're sunk.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
That's the prayer. In retrospect I wish I had added one more thing—especially with all the rancor this election has stirred: Lord, when the ballots are counted and the results are in, please help the candidates to win with grace or lose with grace. And help their supporters be good sports about it all and prayerful for the victor. Amen.
Maybe this added brief petition is really the test of our faith. You think?