My Prayer for Election Day

By Jim Wallis 11-03-2008

On the eve of this historic election, let us pause for a moment of thanks. We should thank God for the men and women who committed themselves to establish a new nation, in which voting was possible. We should thank God for the courage of the women of the Suffrage movement who pioneered the path to the 19th Amendment and ensured women the right to vote. We should thank God for those who risked and sacrificed their lives to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to allow all our citizens, regardless of the color of their skin, to vote.

We also pray for forgiveness because there are still some in our country whose votes are not allowed to be cast or counted, even in recent elections. We pray for protection of all the voters and the votes of this election.

We pray for the candidates, their family and their staff-who have worked tirelessly to offer the country the vision of the future they deeply believe in. Give them rest and a sense of peace, no matter what the outcome of the election. We pray for all the citizen volunteers who have made democracy better by their work on this election campaign.

We pray most of all against a spirit of fear. The scriptures say that "God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of love, a spirit of power and a strong mind." Help us to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, who reminds us that love casts out fear and to be not afraid. If the Scriptures say, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil," certainly we can make it through election day. No matter how we vote, let us vote more for the visions, ideas, and candidates that best represent our best values rather than voting against candidates simply because of the negative and often manipulative things that others have said about them.

As a people of faith, we do not find in our scripture, we can not locate in any sacred text, a mandate to support a particular candidate for president or vote for a particular political party during this election. While the scriptures may not say what box we should check on election day, we must strive to be clear about the priorities of the kingdom of God and how we can best impact the common good. Voting is one part of the prophet's instruction to "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare."

Today we also pray for those who will vote differently than we do, for their own reasons also deeply rooted in faith. And we pray, despite the outcome of the election tomorrow, that we will find the ways to build bridges and work together for the common good of the country we all dwell in. And may our votes tomorrow be guided less by a fear of our neighbor and more by a hope for the future.

God has blessed all the nations of the world, not just America. But we pray tomorrow for God's special blessing on our nation, and that the opportunities to fulfill our country's greatest possibilities might be greatly enlarged.

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