My Election Prayer

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If the current presidential election season has produced anything positive, it might be the increase in political conversations that have been happening at grocery stores, coffee houses and many other spaces where people gather.

I have read some amazing posts and articles whose aim was to soothe an irritated voter base, and perhaps swing them towards peace as they enter the voting booth. I facilitated two forums called “Politicked” where I too sought to bring  balance and levity to our current tension, as well as create a safe space for people with differing views to voice what was on their heart concerning the process, the candidates, and the current state of American political affairs. In my opinion, it was a positive encounter where we learned to hear each other and commit to love regardless of differences.

I have read the many prayers that have been issued forth by pastors who played a partisan card.

I have been discouraged by the way spiritual and theological leaders have sought to anoint one candidate or the other.

I have listened to everyone under the sun explain why they are right and everyone else is wrong.

I have often felt like Solomon when he said, All is vanity…

However, during a short conversation I had with Leonard Sweet this weekend, my prayer focus for this election has shifted. In one way, I feel like my eyes have been lifted from earth and been refocused on God’s sovereign spiritual realm which is grander, more beautiful, and the real kingdom I belong to.

If I were to be honest, most of the prayers I have heard recently have actually been focused upon what the pray-er wants, or what the pray-er thinks is the right divine response to our POTUS vote.

Have you ever noticed that very often even our “holiest” prayers are myopic, selfish and self-serving?

We long for the presidential pick that works in our favor…and if we believe in God then we assume that our favor becomes His favor which ultimately means my/our thoughts on the issues are the right thought and therefore God’s thoughts. Right?

So, back to my conversation with Len…

We were discussing my particular denominational tribe’s emphasis on healing prayer. We see healing as part of what has been provided for followers of Jesus through his substitutional sacrifice (This means that Jesus substitutes his life for our life on the cross. Our sins are paid for by the sinnless Jesus. The chasm of disconnection between us and God is bridged by His offering. Jesus died so that we could live and this results in God declaring us forgiven based on what Christ has done, not on how well we perform.)

Healing, however, is so much more than God fixing the broken arm while we live in a broken world. Healing is a beautiful holistic life of shalom which the ancient rabbis tell us means living in complete peace.

Shalom is how God intended we live, but sin disrupted that vision of life. Jesus removes the sin issue so that we can be fully human, fully alive, and living a transformed life. The healing provided by Jesus extends to my emotional health, physical health and of course my spiritual health.

When we experience healing like this, we then become healing agents in the world so that God’s vision of shalom for everyone is seen, felt and experienced.

As we discussed healing prayer and intercessory prayer, we wondered why our current election prayers were more about candidates winning and losing, and less about healing.

Are you following me?

Why are we not praying that the two primary candidates running for POTUS experience divine healing?

So then, my prayer tonight, on the eve of this unique election is for healing.

Healing for two people who have embarrassed a nation in their pursuit of the highest and most powerful office in the world.

When the ballots are all counted, either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will hold the office of POTUS…that is a reality.

So why are we not praying for the healing of these two people?

Between the two candidates there are issues of:

  1. Moral failure
  2. Ethical failure
  3. Character deficiencies
  4. Betrayed marriage vows
  5. Broken marriage vows
  6. Slandering tongues
  7. Self-centeredness on steroids
  8. Inabilities to forgive
  9. Performance issues reaching into the past
  10. Narcissism
  11. Insecurities disguised as bravado
  12. Extreme control issues
  13. Lack of faith in God
  14. Self absorption
  15. The list goes on and on…

I am praying for two people to experience a deep healing of the broken spaces and places in their souls. Both candidates are in great need of healing because they will lead from their wounds and that is not good for any of us.

But remember that with God, bitter wounds can become sacred wounds.

Sacred wounds heal others…
Sacred wounds can mend the nations…
Sacred wounds can make right so many wrongs…
Sacred wounds can transform the broken into the hopeful…

I am praying for both candidates, because one of them will be POTUS.

Intercessory prayer is when we passionately bring someone before Jesus through prayer, seeking their restoration, salvation, healing and transformation. Praying for their over-all good as experienced in shalom (holistic peace).

Maybe tonight the better prayer would be for healing rather than winning.

Founding Father Ruminations

As election season wraps her sinuous hands around a sound-bite driven electorate, I thought it would be good to have an infusion of some of the  thoughts, quotes, and ponderings from the founding fathers of our nation. So take a break from the mud slinging and Facebook political overload and refresh your mind with thoughts from the minds that birthed a dream called America.

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Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, (I conjure you to believe me fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.

~George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity.

~George Washington, letter to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790

I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.

~George Washington, letter to Francis Van der Kamp, May 28, 1788

I hope, some day or another, we shall become a storehouse and granary for the world.

~George Washington, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, June 19, 1788

(T)he foundation of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; …the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…”  

~George Washington, First Inaugural, April 30 1789

A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general. That elevation of sentiment inspired by such a government, makes the common people brave and enterprising. That ambition which is inspired by it makes them sober, industrious, and frugal.
~John Adams,Thoughts on Government, 1776
But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.~
~John Adams,letter to Abigail Adams, July 17, 1775

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.     ~John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Any people that would give up liberty for a little temporary safety deserves neither liberty nor safety. ~ Benjamin Franklin

He that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.  ~Benjamin Franklin, from his writings, 1758

How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.

~Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1743

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.     ~Benjamin Franklin, letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, November 13, 1789

A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government.     ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Ritchie, December 25, 1820

And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.

~Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 18, 1781

But with respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age, or within the term of 19 years.

~Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

Excessive taxation will carry reason & reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election.

~Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Taylor, November 26, 1798

If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws — the first growing out of the last…. A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.

~Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, Aug 28, 1794

A nation under a well regulated government, should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support.

~Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1792

But where says some is the King of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain…let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING.

~Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute.

~Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.  ~Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

~Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, December 19, 1776

We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.

~Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777

Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  ~John Adams

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”  ~Patrick Henry

“The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world not destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them … the weak will become prey to the strong.”  ~Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War

problems with political parties…

I ran across this blog post today on churchleaders.com. It is an interesting article on how young evangelicals are struggling with their particular political party affiliation, and how they seem to be at odds with their beliefs. This was true whether on the Democrat side or the Republican side.

Take a read and give me your thoughts on this issue!

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A recent study of young evangelicals sponsored by the progressive Christian agency Sojourners showed that the majority in the sample feels poorly represented by their political party at times. As reported by The Christian Post, the sample was largely Republican (54 percent vs. 26 percent Democrats), mostly male (63 percent) and college educated (95 percent). The average age of participants was 24.

Participants were asked how closely they agreed with their political party’s stance on a number of issues. When asked if their personal faith convictions ever conflicted with their preferred political party, 29 percent of Democrats answered “frequently” and 54 percent answered “sometimes.” That’s more often than the Republicans in the study: only 17 percent of Republicans answered “frequently” and 48 percent answered “sometimes.”

When asked about specific issues, 75 percent of the Republicans in the sample said they agreed with their party’s position on abortion, while only 10 percent of Democrats said they agreed with their party’s position on the issue. Asked about domestic poverty issues, only 41 percent of the Democrats surveyed said they align with their party’s position on it, while 29 percent of Republicans feel the same. The percentages were similar for the issue of international poverty.

“As a young Christian, I know no candidate or party ever lines up perfectly with my religious beliefs. But that doesn’t stop me from voting or engaging the political system,” said Tim King, a young evangelical who also works as a spokesman for Sojourners, speaking to the Religion News Service.

“Voting is always a choice between imperfect people. That’s why engaging in advocacy is so important—when politicians are missing important issues, we have the ability as voters to try and put those issues on their agendas,” King said.

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So…how is your party aligning with your christian faith??

Monty