Yesterday our nation saw 144,000 new COVID-19 cases, a staggering and heart-wrenching number, particularly as our nation tries to turn a corner after such a bruising election. While we both felt an overwhelming sense of relief and hope when news broke Saturday that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were declared winners of the election, events of the past few days show that this continues to be a season for fervent prayer, vigilance, and, if necessary, faithful action.
But the longer President Donald Trump continues to spread lies about the vote count and refuses to begin the transition process — and the longer the majority of Republicans capitulate — the greater the damage done to our democracy, eroding public trust and increasing the risk of violence. In a time of great anxiety and peril, we have decided to share our prayers of thanks and lament for our nation. We hope they can be a source of encouragement and grounding for the days ahead, as we continue to defend our democracy by putting our faith into action.
We give thanks for the opportunity to recognize this historic moment: Our nation has elected its first woman, first African American, and first person of South Asian descent as vice president, helping to reflect our nation’s growing diversity — and give people of all races, especially our children, a more accurate picture of what’s possible.
We lament how, after four years of President Trump’s racist and narcissistic rhetoric, actions, and policies, a majority of white voters and white Christians voted to give him a second term. We pray for the courage and love to commit ourselves to a much deeper, and even uncomfortable, conversation about the gospel and race in the body of Christ.
We give thanks that racism was finally recognized by many as a core religious issue in this election. We pray that, in the months and years ahead, we will seize this opportunity to address systemic racism, economic justice, humane and fair immigration policies, the climate crisis, and the dignity of all lives made in the image of God.
We lament, as of this writing on Nov. 12, that President Trump has refused to concede the election and continues to repeat lies about the outcome of the election. We lament the dangerous way this undermines public trust. We pray for vigilance to stand against yet another assault on our democracy.
We give thanks for President-elect Joe Biden’s stated commitment to represent all Americans, calling to put the politics of demonization and grievance behind us. We pray that calls for unity will be accompanied by true repentance and justice. We pray for strength to model Christ’s call to love our enemies, particularly across our deep political divisions.
We give thanks for all the ways our faith communities worked for free, fair, and safe elections in 2020. We give thanks for the courage of thousands of multiracial and interfaith poll chaplains who helped to protect vulnerable voters from both suppression and intimidation at the polls. We give thanks that the election was won fairly, with the largest number of votes in U.S. history and with no widespread evidence of irregularities or fraud.
We lament the great damage members of the Trump administration have done by continuing to deny the election results and casting doubt upon our civic institutions. We pray for protection for career government employees as they work to provide a peaceful transfer of power. We pray fervently for more Republican leaders to put our nation over their loyalty to Trump, and show courage over fear of his political influence.
We lament our deep national pain and loss from COVID-19. We pray we all can put the country’s needs amid this terrible pandemic above all of our other political divisions. We pray for a new, bold coronavirus response, guided by science and public health, that will include a successful vaccine rollout.
We lament the ways we have been complicit in systems that enabled the rise of Christian nationalism and the harm it has caused so many. Give us strength to root out injustice wherever we find it, including in our churches. We pray that we will all commit to both healing and transformation; while this won’t be easy, we know that all things are possible in Christ.