November 3rd, 2014


A call to prayer on Election Eve: pray for your "enemies"

[I wish I could take credit for this idea ... but I first heard this idea from Karen Byrne six years ago.]

Tomorrow, the United States holds a national election.   All members of the House of Representatives will stand for election, plus about a third of the US Senate, many state governors, and untold numbers of state and local officials.

This year, for whatever reason, I've been struck by how bitter this election cycle has been.   The airwaves have been filled with bitterness, rage, hatred, half-truths, guilt by association, and generally a focus on "winning" and "losing" rather than ideas.   Sitting down with my ballot on Saturday was a uniquely painful experience.  I will be very happy when Wednesday rolls around.

But before that happens, there is tonight.   Election eve.

I call upon you tonight to take some time and pray.   But not in the way that you might think.

Don't pray for "your side" to win.   Don't pray for "God's will to be done", while implicitly thinking that "God's will" is for "your side" to win.

Instead ... pray for the "other side".

I'm not asking you to pray that the "other side" will win.  I'm asking you to honestly pray for them.   Pray that God blesses them.   Pray that God gives them wonderful, unexpected, glorious gifts of grace.   Pray that God gives them wisdom and peace.

Why?   Because it's right for us to do so.   And because many of those on the "other side" will lead us.

  • "I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."   (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

  • "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven."  (Matthew 5:44-45a)

And, perhaps, because if we all start praying for those with whom we disagree, perhaps we'll quit seeing them as ... well, as "them".