I can still remember the 2000 presidential election. On the morning of that brisk Tuesday in November, I gathered with a large group of moms in the park to pray. While our young children played on the swings and the monkey bars, we poured out our hearts before God. All of us saw this as a critical crossroads in the future of our nation. The outcome of the election would shape the America in which our children would grow up.
We prayed fervently, passionately, about the issues that burdened our hearts. Our prayer meeting concluded with a thunder clap, as ominous, dark clouds rolled in, driving us to gather our kids and scurry indoors. We felt certain that the God of the universe had heard our prayers. But it was far from over.
The next morning I woke up expecting to learn who had won. But something unprecedented had happened. Neither candidate had secured the solid majority of electoral votes needed to claim victory. Nobody could say for sure who would become President. The eyes of the nation turned to Florida, the single swing state whose electoral votes still hung in the balance.
At church that Sunday, many of my friends were anxious and upset about this strange turn of events. We had already cast our ballots, and raised our voices in prayer. It seemed there was nothing more we could do. Except pray. I invited the members of my Sunday School class to join me again for a prayer meeting in the park. None of them showed up.
In the end, one fellow mom and I continued to pray together about the still undecided election. We met for several weeks in a row, imploring God to bring resolution. In time, God answered our prayers. George W. Bush became President of the United States. The crisis had passed and the country moved forward.
For the sake of balance, I must also tell you about how God led me to pray in 2008. I remember distinctly the point in that presidential campaign when I felt God was telling me to stop praying for the republican candidate to win the election, though I had been praying fervently for that outcome. When the savings and loan scandals came to light, God seemed to be saying that the old guard had proven themselves poor stewards of the financial responsibilities which had been entrusted to them. Their corruption had been exposed and they were about to be judged for their crimes.
“I have heard your prayers,” God seemed to say, “but My answer is No.” Regardless of how I voted, I was certain from that point on that Barak Obama would be elected President, whether I agreed with his politics or not. The old guard had failed and it was time for new leadership.
Jesus told us to pray at all times and not lose heart. Most Americans are pretty bad at this. God has been reminding me that I need to rekindle the burning desire I once felt to intercede for my nation. I need to approach our current election with that same passionate dedication I had to pray without ceasing in 2000. I need to persevere in prayer, remaining steadfast and resolute as I implore God to establish His will in America as it is done in Heaven.
This time around, I can’t say I have any clear insight about who God will place in power when all is said and done. Nobody holds the moral high ground. That in and of itself may be evidence of God’s judgement on our nation; we are reaping what we have sown.
However, there are some things that are undeniably God’s will. In I Timothy 2 we are told to pray for kings and all who are in authority. Why? Because “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:3-4)
No matter who ends up in the White House, you and I can pray with confident conviction that our freedom to practice our faith and share the gospel will be preserved. We can pray that the truth about God’s character and His word would not be diluted so that people everywhere can come to the knowledge of the truth. We should pray for this passionately, continuously, and with bold assurance because we KNOW without a doubt that it is God’s will. He has already told us so.
“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” (I John 5:14-15)