The long awaited day is here! Election Day 2016. Today we get the opportunity to elect our leaders. As we go to the polls today, and watch the results come in this evening, we must recognize that all candidates are fallen. This reality should lead us to do more than just check a ballot box: it should drive us to pray for our leaders. With that being said, here are 5 things I am praying for the next President (regardless of whom he or she may be).
Being the President is not a job I want. Imagine having the weight of the nation, the full responsibility for all its concerns upon your back. You have access to all the weapons of war, top secret information, and public light that comes with the office of the Presidency. Friends, whoever the President is they are going to need wisdom. Fortunately, God gives wisdom generously. James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” God loves to give wisdom to the one who asks for it and seeks it. Proverbs 2:6 reads, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” We need to pray for wisdom for our future leader because only God can give it.
2) For a peaceful and quiet life
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, we are urged, “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” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). First, he urges us to pray for our leaders to live a peaceful and quiet life. The spotlight of leadership can be a dark place. In fact, the old adage is true, it is lonely at the top. The position of the President is one that could very easily bring drama and distress and ruin upon a family. We should pray for them and their family- that they might live a peaceful and quiet life. Pray that they will love their family and their spouses and be faithful to them.
3) To be godly and dignified in every way
Paul also gives a second prayer request for our leaders. Pray that they might be “godly and dignified in every way.” Oh, how this is important for those in leadership! We all know how corrupting power can be. In fact, much of the Bible is written and lived out under corrupt, evil governmental rule. Think of Isaiah, Daniel, and even the Lord Jesus; none are exempt from the effects of government corruption. We should pray for them to be godly and dignified, even when the temptation to value legacy, progress, and/or immorality over and above godliness is present. We should pray for them. Jesus words to Peter in the gospels are applicable to all of us, especially those with large amounts of influence, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail” (Luke 22:31-32).
4) For humility
Friends, leaders needs humility. We need to pray that power does not puff up our leaders. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:8). If God expects the leaders of the church to be humble (1 Peter 5:1-3), how much more God’s servant for our good (Romans 13:4)? As our influence grows, so does our need for humility. We need to ask the Lord to give humility to our President, regardless of whom she/he may be.
5) For God’s Mercy
Lastly, especially in light of the choices this election day, we need to cry out for God’s mercy. John Calvin once said, “When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers.” Since Jesus has never been on the American ballot, we need to constantly recognize and ask for God’s mercy. Fallen humanity is always in need of God’s mercy. We must also simultaneously long for the day when the King of Kings will take His throne. Matthew 25:31 points us forward to that day, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.” Jesus is King, and may we be His faithful servants regardless of what rulers we live under. May we ask the Lord to bless us with faithful servants and with faithful leaders this election day.