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Pray, Pray, Pray...Vote

     Election day is coming up fast!  The news headlines keep getting crazier.  There is grey area and uncertainty as to which choice is morally correct....and no shortage of people who seem 100% certain of the right choice and who are fully prepared to make their case for you in person, over email, on Facebook, or wherever else your paths may cross.  The tendency might be to sit this one out and let the chips fall where they may...but I hope that isn't what you choose.  

 

     As a follower of Jesus I hope you will pray, pray again, pray some more - and then vote in line with your conscience and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  This is not subtle code for "vote 3rd party" or "vote Trump" or "vote Clinton".  It simply is a statement that, if votes are the method by which we choose leaders, I want to see as many praying Christians as possible engaged in the process and helping to shape the election through prayer, prayer, prayer & participation. 

 

     Jeremiah 29:7 and Jeremiah 29:11 are often quoted in posts like these.  I think it's helpful to see and apply them in their Biblical context:

 

[4] “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: [5] Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. [6] Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. [7] But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. [8] For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, [9] for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.

[10] “For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. [11] For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. [12] Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. [13] You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. [14] I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 29:4-14

 

     God was sending His people into exile in Babylon.  Some "prophets" said it would be short lived but God wanted them to know that this would be a 70 year experience.  He wanted them to settle in, raise families, and seek the welfare of their new home until He returned them to Jerusalem in His perfect timing.  Most of the people hearing this would never live long enough to see Jerusalem again.  God's plan that He had for them was for them live in exile for 70 years...a plan that none of them would've chosen for themselves.  He wanted them to learn to pray and seek Him with all of their heart.  

 

     The hope and future that they had was not in earthly victory, justice or revenge in their lifetime.  It was in learning to love, trust and seek Him.  While the situation of this passage is not a perfect parallel with our situation as American Christians, the basic principals remain the same.  Trust in God for our joy and hope.  Know that His perfect plan may not unfold the way that we would choose for ourselves.  

 

     We see this in the life of Jesus.  Jesus chose to be exiled from His home in heaven and live here on earth.  He lived among wicked people but He didn't pray for their destruction and judgement...He prayed for healing, forgiveness, and for the Kingdom to come into their hearts.  He lived in community with them.  He worked as a carpenter and attended weddings and parties and feasts.  Ultimately, he sought the Father with all of His heart and trusted in the perfect plan, to prosper and not to harm, to provide a hope and future for all of us through His willing sacrifice.  No matter who wins the election, King Jesus remains on the throne.  Don't let this truth lead you to apathy about our current situation.  He placed you here and now because He wants you to be His hands and feet, His ambassador, to be a reflection of Him in this time and place.

 

 

     Establish yourself in the community where God has placed you.  Raise families if that is your calling.  Seek the welfare of our nation.  Pray to God for His blessing on our community, our church, our homes, our nation and our world.  Let this situation teach you how to seek Him with all of your heart.  Engage in whatever way you can to make the place where God has placed you a better place.  Prayerfully seek for His Kingdom to come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  

 

     I believe that the natural application of all this is to pray, pray, pray...& vote.

 

As a final thought...We should also consider Paul's call in Romans 13

          "[1] 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. (Romans 13:1 ESV)"

as well as his words from 1 Timothy

          "[1] First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be

          made for all people, [2] for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a

          peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. [3] This is good, and it is pleasing

          in the sight of God our Savior, [4] who desires all people to be saved and to come to the

          knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 ESV).

Even if our preferred candidate doesn't win, there is a call to pray for and respect the authority that our God has sovereignly allowed to come into place.  He knows the plans that He has for us...