By Jessica Connor
Prayer is a powerful, powerful thing.
We pray for safety, for health, for strength, for comfort. On prayer lists and church bulletins, in worship and in small groups, we pray for a friend diagnosed with cancer or an acquaintance recently widowed. I’ve prayed to have a child, for guidance, for peace and even (eek) not to get a speeding ticket. When my daughter had a medical issue and no doctor’s treatment would heal her, I prayed, and God delivered.
God answers our prayers, always. He hears us, and while He doesn’t always bring the desired earthly result, He knows what is best for us, and walks with us every step.
This election season, many in one political party are praying fervently their presidential candidate will be elected “or else our nation will crumble” – and many in the other political party are praying exactly that about their candidate. (Reminds me of opposing sports teams, each praying for a win.) Sometimes, we forget that what we pray for might be exactly the opposite of what someone else is seeking in prayer. But that’s OK. God knows what is best, and like any good father, He will make it so.
While I know which presidential candidate I want to win, I’ve decided that instead of praying for his election, I will instead pray that our nation can manage to rise above political squabbling and party-bashing and instead realize that we are simply electing a man to lead our country. Nothing more. Candidate A is not the antichrist. Candidate B is not a demigod. They’re just two flawed sinners doing the best they can to steer our nation in what they perceive is the right direction.
I hope our churches can do that, too – stay far away from endorsing a candidate, or denouncing the views of a candidate, and instead serve as a safe, fair place for voter education and dialogue.
If we can manage to keep our hearts open to difference and refrain from tongue-lashing political rants (even well intentioned ones), if we remember that many of those we bash are our brothers and sisters in Christ, then our nation will be better off.
And I imagine God our father will be pretty happy his kids stopped fighting.