When Barack Obama, one of the most liberal senators in the United States Senate at that time, was elected president, I remember admonishing the church I served as pastor to pray for him. Whoever is elected president this year, I would offer up the same counsel. We may disagree with their values and policies or embrace them, but the call from God to pray for them is clear.
Romans 13:1-7 is an important reminder at this time in our nation’s history:
“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior (works), but for evil; Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing, Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor” (NASB).
As a Bible-believing follower of Jesus, I cannot support abortion, dishonesty, greed, injustice, lawlessness, or any avowedly anti-Christian position — whether it is in schools, local governments, the court system, Congress or even the Supreme Court.
What I can support and pledge to do is pray for our elected officials. First Timothy 2:1-4 says: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (NASB).
Before the election results are in, we should be praying for our nation and elected officials. When the election is over and winners have been declared, we should still be praying for our nation and those who hold office.
This has been a tumultuous year — unusual and challenging. Many people have died, while others have lost jobs. There have been cries of racial injustice, protests, looting and violence, as well as a deadly virus sweeping the world. Most all of us are tired of this pandemic, and we pray help is on the horizon with a vaccine that is safe and drugs that can cure those infected. Most Christians are concerned about our nation and are praying for a God-sent revival to spread across our land. We pray for peace in our cities and peace among each other.
As long as people inhabit this fallen world, sin will continue to have destructive effects on people and systems. Even though this is an important election year, our ultimate hope does not rest in people but God. So whatever happens in this election, let us commit ourselves to prayer.
James 5:16 admonishes us to “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” God may choose to answer our prayers and heal our nation. If judgment instead of revival comes, let us live out the statement of faith found in Habakkuk 3:18: “I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” That confession of faith came after God told the prophet that judgment and destruction, not comfort and revival, were coming to Judah. God chose to use a nation many times more wicked than Judah to discipline His people.
This is an important election year, but whoever wins, life will go on. Isaiah and his nation felt a great loss and despair when their good king of about 40 years, Uzziah, died. At that precise time, the prophet wrote, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted.” God has never abdicated His throne of sovereignty over this world.
Certainly, vote this election year, but pray, pray, pray to the God who rules over it all.