To be honest, I’ve never followed a presidential campaign closely before. Four years ago, when I had my first opportunity to cast a vote for president, I just followed my parents’ voting pattern. When it rolled around this time, I was actually excited to watch the candidates, research their positions, and make a difference with my vote.
Now, the presidential race just makes me nauseous. The amount of vicious articles, venomous posts, and spiteful memes posted on social media makes this race seem more like a circus than a democratic election cycle. And while it doesn’t surprise me when my lost friends post articles and write statuses that follow their worldview, it does surprise me when people who claim to know Christ are posting hateful and negative articles and comments. While I have some strong opinions about policies and positions because of my Christian faith, it sickens me to see other self-identified believes spewing bitter words in the name of Christ.
Note, this is not a blog article arguing for one candidate or another (there are plenty of those out there). All I want to do is remind Christians that there is a more important issue at stake than who wins the presidency. It’s about how we as Christians respond to worldly leaders in a way that displays the Gospel to the world. We have a much greater duty than just to vote. We have the duty to pray.
Pray for candidates as we get closer to election day. Pray for the Republican, Democrat, and Independents. Pray for voters.
Pray for the candidate that will be sworn in come January—even if it was not your candidate of choice.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 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.”
Am I telling you that you should pray for a candidate with whom you disagree? Who is not from your political party? Who has lied and disregarded the truths of God?
No, I’m not saying that. God is.
Though I did not closely follow the presidential race four years ago, I do remember the response to the winner from many of those in the church. Unfortunately, instead of acting in obedience and praying for the president, they responded with harsh words and ugly bumper stickers. And while we may not have agreed with the elected president, Christ has called us to honor him/her despite who they are out of faith in the sovereign God who is in control of all leaders.
By refusing to pray for our president, we are saying that there is absolutely no way God could use he/she to bring about His will.
We are saying that God is not sovereign enough to have control over that presidential term. We are telling the world that God does not care about anyone other than those who are in a certain political party. We are saying that our hope is not based in the eternal kingdom to come but in a temporary presidential term.
So Christians, our primary responsibility is not to vote (though I believe that we should exercise that right). Our primary responsibility is to place our hope in a King who never lies, who values life, and whose judgement is perfect. So before you repost that inflammatory article or hostile meme, stop and pray for that candidate. Not because they are “worthy,” not because they are godly, but because the true King commands you to pray.
Still not convinced? Here are a few more passages about how we are to treat rulers (note that many of these passages were written in a time when the government was extremely hostile towards Christians).
1 Peter 2:13-15, 17—“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
Romans 13:1-2, 7—“ Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”