Watch the Vote: A Prayer for America | Sojourners

Watch the Vote: A Prayer for America

Close-up of a statue and an American flag, Purestock / Getty Images
Close-up of a statue and an American flag, Purestock / Getty Images

It’s here, God — Election Day in America. Today is the day when Americans everywhere are given the privilege and responsibility to exercise dominion (agency) at the polls.

Scripture tells us every human being is made in the image of God. We are, therefore, equally worthy of protection of the law. The United States Constitution and its Amendments tell us we are equally worthy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, at this very moment, laws stand poised to snatch dominion from the hands of the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable, ethnic minorities, students, and the elderly. Some scurrilous elected officials have worked behind the scenes to suppress the ability of voters to elect the person of their choice — all for the sake of politics

God, we lift up the voters of Florida, Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Illinois, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Texas to you today. All of these states still have voting restrictions in place that have made or will make it harder for “the least” to exercise dominion at the polls. 

And we pray for voters in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, for whom Sandy has tossed up barriers to getting to or finding the right polling place. We thank you for the swift action of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who announced an Executive Order yesterday that allows residents of hard-hit areas of New York to vote at any polling place of their choosing. And we thank you for Gov. Chris Christie who is allowing New Jersey voters to vote by fax and email today.

Oh, dear God, thank you! This is the way we need to go. We need to make voting easier, not harder in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Empower the people, dear Lord. And give them the wherewithal to put that power to use. 

And finally, dear Jesus, we pray for the soul of our nation. We are a divided nation, God. The choice before us could not be starker and yet polls tell us the nation is split down the middle between our two presidential candidates. We are divided God.  We need you to intervene for the sake of our future — for the sake of our children and our children’s children. Give us the courage to move outside of ideological boxes and beyond political poles. Help us to find another way to engage the deepest questions of our life together, such as:

  • How do we make sure the least are taken care of while also protecting the liberty of every individual?
  • How do we steward our environment while also providing the energy independence our nation needs?
  • How do we protect the lives of unborn children and the lives of the born and their mothers?

Dear Jesus, we need you to break through. In truth, we need you to break us. Break us, God. Break us. Break our strong-will death grip on the ideologies of our families, our communities, and our tribes. Oh, God when did politics become an accepted part of our identities? Break that, God, and help us to see again. Help us to see each other — I mean really see each other — again. And help us to see you at work in our world. Give us eyes to see you as you really are, God. Blow our minds and blow our ideological categories out of the deep waters of injustice.

And Jesus, I pray that one day — in the year of our children’s children, perhaps — we might be able to say we live in a more perfect union — a union where “the least of these” among us can vote without hindrance and in so doing your image within them thrives.


More from Watch the Vote series

Lisa Sharon Harper is the Director of Mobilizing at Sojourners. She is also co-author of Left, Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat.