Four Ways to Pray for the US Election
On the day of the US presidential election, here are some ways we can pray as Christians in the UK.
I find US politics mesmerising and bewildering in equal measure. I suspect that is because, as with many things, familiarity makes the incomprehensible at least partially understandable. Try, for example, explaining the unwritten UK Constitution and Parliamentary System to a German! Or, for that matter, try to get your head around the German Basic Law and electoral structure (ironically designed by Brits).
Today, however, is the United States presidential election. And also, let’s not forget, elections for 35 of the 100 Senate seats, all 453 of the Congress seats, and 13 Governorships.
I don’t presume to know how a Christian should vote, and I am freed from worrying unnecessarily about this since, as a British national, I’m not eligible to vote. But I am eligible to pray, so here are my four ideas for what should Christians be praying for.
For the nation of the United States
Let’s pray for the effect these elections will have on the US. There are 380 million people who live in the US - almost six times as many as live here in the UK. Like many countries, there are extremes within the nation: there are poor and rich; there are workers and unemployed; there are homeowners, renters and homeless. Divisions are not just political.
And, just as we pray for the peace and prosperity of our own nation, we should likewise pray for it in the US too. Let’s pray that all those elected will seek this kind of prosperity. That’s a broad prayer. It might – and should – include right to life issues, but it should not be restricted to them. Like any country, reflecting properly on the issue of ‘prosperity’ requires us to reflect properly on all manner of issues within government control.
Let’s also remember to pray for a peaceful transition and a countrywide acceptance of the outcomes of the votes.
For the influence of the United States in the world
The President is sometimes called ‘leader of the free world’. I don’t personally recognise that kind of role but it is indisputable that the economic and military might of the US means it carries influence around the world.
I can think of one particular situation I know where a US President (I needn’t name him) used US aid and the threat of its removal to ensure a better environment for minorities in a country including, in this case, evangelical Christians.
For the cause of the church in the United States
As far as I am aware, neither of the Presidential candidates is proposing changing any of the privileges and rights the church currently enjoys. But it is unavoidable to say that politics and faith are conflated in the US in a way that many of us find baffling.
The cause of the church is surely not ultimately to see one or other candidate elected but to hold out Christ to believers and unbelievers alike. Let’s pray for a renewed sense of that mission.
For the influence of the US church in the world
Let’s pray for the worldwide mission of the US church. The US church has served us brilliantly in the past. Though we could pick holes in some things, we must surely agree that the generosity of the church matched with its theological rigour (at its best) has done us all good. I long to see this continue.
Let’s pray for a continued sense of humble generosity and willing service so that the church of Christ around the world might flourish.
And let’s pray for all these things knowing it is ultimately our King of kings who “does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth” (Daniel 4:35).