With all the media hype and mudslinging involved during this presidential election season, it can be very easy and tempting to stand by, criticize and just “watch the show.” You may be so disgusted with the whole process that you’re even thinking about sitting this one out. But this is not a game, and it’s certainly not entertainment. The fact is, we simply cannot afford to sit by on the sidelines when the very future of our nation hangs in the balance.
Now more than ever, it’s important for God’s people to stand up and let their voices be heard. Every believer has two important civic responsibilities—to pray and to vote. These two practices, more than any other, affect the direction of our nation. If you find yourself not praying for all the candidates and are considering not voting, let this be your call to action. It’s time to get involved by praying and then voting in this election.
The Privilege of the Vote
Every two to four years in America, citizens have the privilege of doing something important, something that affects the course of our country. They have the opportunity to vote. For those around the world who are unable to participate in this remarkable activity, the idea of skipping it seems unimaginable. But the truth is, the percentage of Americans who vote hovers around 59 percent[i]. Think about that: Fewer than two out of every three Americans vote.
While very few elections have been decided by a single vote, every vote does count. Every vote—or lack of vote—strengthens one of the two sides. A vote for a candidate strengthens that person’s cause or position, but a vote against that candidate (or even an absent vote) weakens it.
Choice or Responsibility?
Some might argue that voting is a personal choice. However, God calls His people to be “salt” and “light.”
You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:13-16).
Think of what it means to be salt. Salt improves flavor and influences everything that mixes with it. Similarly, as believers, we are called to improve the “flavor” of this world by helping others understand that there is a better way to live other than what the world has to offer. When we do that, we begin to “season” those around us. We show them how fulfilling it is to love and honor God and, consequently, we help them experience that same fulfillment in their own lives.
When the Scripture speaks of us being “light,” it refers to us being a guiding light in the darkness. No matter what the enemy tries to pass off as good and healthy and normal, the Body of Christ is called to stand as light-filled beacons, showing others the way. Below are few things we are supposed to stand for:
- We’re to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves—the widows, the orphans and the unborn.
- We’re to stand up for God’s absolutes—morality, biblical marriage, gender absolutes and natural laws.
- We’re to stand up for the rights that our Founding Fathers and military personnel made possible—protection for the individual, protection against tyranny, protection against intellectual elitism, and protection against socialism.
Every vote must stand for the things of God (i.e., faith, hope, love, divine order, etc.) and against oppression, domination and wickedness. Each vote we cast is not simply for a particular candidate; it is a vote for ideas and philosophies. Socialism and humanism are examples of ideas that have been introduced into our political system by elected officials. The officials may not have even realized where their beliefs would lead, but their thoughts led to words, their words led to actions, and their actions led to ungodly decisions and laws.
God Has Called His People
Second Chronicles 7:14 states, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
Notice that this scripture doesn’t promise that God will heal our land when:
- Every citizen gets saved
While this is an inspired prayer to pray, it is not the key to God moving on behalf of a nation.
- Everyone straightens up and acts right
We know that without Jesus in our lives, making godly decisions is impossible.
- The perfect person is elected.
Since Jesus was the only perfect person, the quest for perfection is unattainable.
No, this verse lays the responsibility for a nation’s healing squarely on the shoulders of the believers. We are called to humble ourselves and admit that only God has the answers we need to the issues our nation faces, including political discord, educational shortcomings, international incidents, civil unrest, racial tension and more. God promises that our prayers will make the difference.
Contrary to voting, prayer should occur daily. God’s Word instructs us to pray for our leaders.
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Praying for our leaders—our Supreme Court justices, president, vice president, senators, representatives, mayors, sheriffs and everyone else who holds office in our nation—is a command from God. This would certainly include, also, praying for those seeking office. Not only should we pray for them, but we should also pray about which candidate God would have us cast our vote for. He doesn’t tell us to pray for them if we think they are Christians or honorable or trustworthy. No, He simply tells us to pray.
If you have questioned whether your vote matters or if you have struggled to pray for your leaders, consider this your summons. Commit to vote in the upcoming election and to pray for the candidates. If you haven’t already, humble yourself and ask God which candidate He would have you cast your vote for. Pray for those already in office. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to pray. Check out the infographic below, “How to Pray for Government Leaders.” Then do your part to stand in faith for our nation. It’s not only your right; it’s your responsibility!
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