By now, you may be ready to turn off the TV, pull up all the political yard signs and call the post office to stop sending you political fliers. And if you are like me, you are ready to have this election behind us.
The political backbiting and finger-pointing can easily make us want to isolate ourselves from the negativity, and become disengaged and disenfranchised with the political process. But as Christians, do we have the right to pull away and ignore politics, or do we have a role to play in this election?
The answer is the latter. As much as we may want to remove ourselves from the political scene, the Bible tells us that we must pray for our nation and governing leaders.
As Christians, we should be praying for our leaders’ salvation, and for them to act righteously as they make decisions for our country, using biblical principles as the foundation for decision-making. We should pray that our leaders hold up biblical values and not give into political pressure to compromise on God’s truth. The Bible tells us when we pray for our leaders, this is pleasing to God.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 says: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (ESV).
Prayer is the starting place for our part, but we must take it a step further. God has called us to steward our voice in charting the course of our nation. We do this by going to the polls to vote. John Hancock said: “I [urge] you, by all that is dear, by all that is honorable, by all that is sacred, not only that ye pray but [also] that ye act.”
Going to the polls also brings a responsibility to educate ourselves about the political positions and values of the candidates. I tell people to vote the Bible. By saying this, I am encouraging people to seek out the candidates who are strong, godly leaders, who uphold biblical principles, and vote for these candidates.
I know what you are thinking! Your candidate is no longer running or you feel like none of the candidates are worth voting for. I would still encourage you to pray about it, and vote the best choice.
Charles Finney, a leader in the Second Great Awakening, stated: “The Church must take right ground in regard to politics. Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter, but the time is come when I must act differently. God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground. … [God] will bless or curse this nation according to the course [Christians] take [in politics].”
These are sobering words. But I believe it is time to lead our congregations, not to a particular candidate or political party, but to pray, giving them resources to get educated about the candidates and their values, and encouraging people to register and go to polls.
Tips to get your church involved:
- Spend some time in your service to pray for the upcoming elections, and for all the candidates and current leaders.
- Encourage your congregation to register and to vote the Bible. Vote for candidates who uphold biblical values.
- Send web links to your congregation to help educate and guide them in voting (avoid biased, partisan links). Start here.
- Post on your personal and church social media pages, encouraging people to pray, register and vote. (Remember: Don’t tell people who to vote for.)
- Consider sharing helpful video links, such as this one on the importance of voting.