Why Should We Pray for an Election?

By Dave Butts

In every election cycle, American Christians face both amazing opportunities and grave dangers. We are privileged to be a part of those who can choose their own leaders. As people who believe that godly leaders are a source of blessing to a nation, this provides us with great opportunity. The dangers arise, however, when we begin to put our hope in leaders rather than the Lord.

God’s Word is very clear that we should have an undivided heart and trust only in the Lord. The psalmist tells us: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7, NIV).

Awareness of this can create a tension in thinking Christians, and some have overreacted and rejected the political process completely. If that is the case, it will be difficult to be motivated to pray about the elections. A balanced and biblical approach, however, allows us to fully participate in the electoral process without falling into improperly placed trust.

In Paul’s great teaching on prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, one of his major thrusts is praying for those in authority. According to Paul’s reasoning, we want good government that allows us to live lives that ultimately free us to evangelize those who are lost.

Paul would have been amazed that Christians could one day actually take part in selecting those leaders. He would have been even more amazed (and appalled) that many of those Christians who had this privilege would not even bother to get involved in selecting those leaders for the purposes of God to be fulfilled.

Praying for the electoral process is the first step in seeing the fulfillment of what Paul wrote in 1 Timothy. We should not wait for a leader to be selected before we move into obedient prayer for those in authority. In prayer, we invite the Lord into the process of electing those leaders who will ultimately allow us to “lead peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2, NIV).

So why pray for the elections? There are a number of compelling reasons:

  1. The Bible commands us to pray for those who are in leadership. This should certainly include those who are vying to become leaders.
  2. Godly leaders can help slow the erosion of religious liberties in our land. This can provide an increased window of opportunity for the Church to pray and evangelize.
  3. According to Scripture, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34, NASB). The selection of leaders who understand and lead according to God’s righteous standards can bring great blessing to a nation.
  4. Scripture also says, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisors” (Proverbs 11:14, NIV). The determination of who leads our nation will also determine who advises that leader and how we are guided.

Pray! And vote!

–Dave Butts is the president of Harvest Prayer Ministries and the author of 16 books on prayer, including Praying for an Election: A Non-partisan, Scripture-Based, Prayer Guide (PrayerShop Publishing 2020) from which this article is adapted.

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