How to Pray for the Elections

I have been struggling recently in my prayer life.

Not with praying per se, but with how to pray. Specifically, how to pray for the upcoming elections. So what did I do? I went to Scripture. And I found some answers.

In Paul’s great teaching on prayer from 1 Timothy 2:1-3 one of his major points is that we ought to pray for rulers and “all who are in high positions”. According to Paul’s reasoning, we want a good government that keeps order and peace, so that we might have the freedom to share God’s good news with those who are lost.

Implication #1:  We need to be in prayer for these elections. We should not wait for our leaders to be chosen before we move into prayer. Instead we need to invite the Lord into the process, asking that those who are elected might be leaders who allow us to lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way.

In Proverbs 14:34, Solomon tells us, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” The selection of leaders who understand and lead according to God’s righteousness can bring a great blessing to a nation.

Implication #2:  We need to pray for leaders (and their advisors) that will understand and lead with God’s righteous standards in mind.

In Jeremiah 29:7 God instructs the Israelites who are in exile in Babylon to “seek the welfare of the city . . . and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare”. So exiles like Daniel prayed for their rulers even though those rulers were directly opposed to God and to God’s people.

Implication #3: We must pray to God for our leaders, no matter who is elected. We must pray on their behalf, asking God to work in their lives and through their decisions for our nation’s best.

Psalm 20:7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

Implication #4: Bottom line is that even as we pray for our elections and for our leaders, our undivided heart and trust is in the Lord. Our hope will not be in our new President, or Congressional leaders, or state leaders, but in our God.

Andy Crouch put it this way in Christianity Today:
“The true Lord of the world reigns even now, far above any earthly ruler. His kingdom is not of this world, but glimpses of its power and grace can be found all over the world. One day his kingdom, and his only, will be the standard by which all earthly kingdoms are judged, and following that judgment day, every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, as his reign is fully realized in the renewal of all things.”

In these final weeks before the elections, all American Christians should repent and pray - no matter how we might vote. And we should hold on to hope - not in a candidate, but in our Lord Jesus Christ.

May His name be hallowed, may His kingdom come, and may His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.