by Jessica Miller Kelley*
With Election Day on a Tuesday, Wednesday night meals, meetings, rehearsals and programs at church provide an excellent opportunity to pray together for unity, for peace, for wisdom for newly elected or re-elected officials and for perspective among Christ's body that we are first citizens of God's kingdom. No matter which candidate wins, please consider taking a few minutes at dinner or before your Bible study, choir practice, etc. to observe this brief devotion together.
Yesterday was a big day in the United States. Whether you are happy with or disappointed in the outcome of the presidential race or any state and local races, we have a lot to be thankful for. For the right to vote and have a say in our electoral process. For people willing and eager to serve in these pressure-filled positions. As contentious and polarized as our campaign seasons can be, we have a 200+ year tradition of peaceful transitions of power. We may not realize how remarkable that is until we look at the coups, revolutions, and other violence that has occurred in other nations throughout history and around the world even today.
We have heard and read (and maybe even ourselves said) some pretty nasty and divisive things about the candidates, our fellow citizens who happen to hold different political opinions, and even the electoral process itself. If we have not already, it is time to put mean-spiritedness and alarmist attitudes aside. If your candidate won, let's acknowledge that he will not solve all our nation's problems or perform miracles of any kind. We need not act like the nation narrowly avoided disaster.
If your candidate lost, let's acknowledge that our nation will not crumble under someone else's administration. The world is not coming to an end. As citizens of God's kingdom, let's acknowledge and remember that God is at work in the world no matter who leads our country, and that God loves and wants health and peace and plenty for all the people of the world. We are part of something much bigger than one nation, and we work on behalf of a much greater cause.
Today and going forward, let's remember to pray for our country, our leaders, and all who work to make a better world. Let us pray.
Eternal God, Who has sought Your people across the generations, we open ourselves to Your presence in this moment of newness for our country. We pray for peace and prosperity in our land. We are grateful for the freedom in which we have been able to choose a leader. We are glad to praise You on this day that stirs hope for some, which brings disappointment for some, but which is a time for acknowledging Your goodness by all.
For our country — Lord, hear our prayer.
We are thankful for all those who offered themselves for offices of service and vision, and for all public servants. Give them discernment. Give them wisdom. Give them vision. Grant them the patience of cooperation. We pray for [losing candidate] and his family, that they will mourn the loss with integrity and move confidently forward in whatever work you call them to do.
We pray for [president-elect] and his family, that they will celebrate their victory with humility and serve in faithful stewardship of this high post. Grant him a sensitive heart, a clear mind, a willing spirit, and an active courage. Help him serve wisely with both caution and risk, and always to Your glory.
For our leaders — Lord, hear our prayer.
God of all the nations, You have called all people to lives of righteousness and justice, peace and wholeness. But we confess that sometimes we have cared more for lofty places than we have for places of service. We confess that sometimes we have worked more for power than we have for purpose. Help us be humble enough to work together with those with whom we disagree for sake of the common good.
Keep ever before us the broken places of our life together, places of despair and disappointment. Set our ears to hear the cry of the poor. Set our eyes to see the needs of the sick. And blend us with all people of good will, both in this place and beyond, to be a light to the world, bringing freedom to the oppressed and hope to all in need.
For our hearts — Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.
*Jessica Miller Kelley is a managing editor of Ministry Matters and of Circuit Rider magazine.