“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillippians 4:6-7

Does the Philippians 4 passage strike you as too simplistic, like we are sticking our heads in the sand as we think about the election and the state of our country? Perhaps reading it again more slowly and prayerfully will allow our souls to grasp a deeper understanding. When we reverently pray this passage, we find God growing our capacity for loving others and trusting in Him.

No doubt this has been one of the most turbulent years in recent decades. Our country is torn apart by racial unrest, riots, violence, and the disturbing and deadly Covid-19 pandemic. Now we are closing in on a presidential election that is marked by hatred, division, and distrust, even among Christians. We know no longer trust our institutions or the medias’ take on “news”. We can even feel justified in our complaints and incendiary comments towards those we disagree with. All the rhetoric of “us versus them” threatens the very heart of Jesus’ gospel of good news.

How shall we then pray?  Here are three prayer prompts I hope will be helpful during these disturbing times:

  1. Pray for elected and appointed officials, regardless of whether you agree with their politics.
    • I Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions…”
    • (Rom 13) Pray that our leaders will use their power well on behalf of the people they serve.
    • Pray for the well-being of their families and their staff.
    • Commit to pray for those who have won different offices, even if your candidate didn’t win.
  2. Pray for candidates to address poverty and justice issues.
    • Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
    • God calls each one of us to speak up on behalf of those who have no voice.
    • Pray that leaders will care and act on issues affecting the most vulnerable.
  3. Pray for the church universal
    • The church of Jesus Christ is made up of people from every race, tribe, and tongue. Pray the church will unite to embody the good news of the gospel.
    • Pray for pastors to boldly preach God’s Word and call the church into Christ-likeness.
  4. Use this prayer from St. Francis of Assisi as a guide before and after the election:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. - Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen. – Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi