November 8, 2016

Prayer First

Today, we vote. And hopefully, we pray.

I have heard time and again from people that they’re so frustrated with this election season, with the vitriol and mud slinging, that the only thing that’s left to do is pray. And I agree. Except on one important point: Prayer is not the last resort in an untenable situation. It’s not what’s left when we’ve mustered all of our own strength to muscle a problem. It’s not scraping the leavings off the turkey tray.

God doesn’t say to work really hard, implement all of our own solutions, then try a few suggested by others. And when all else fails, pray.

What would happen if the first thing we did was pray – whether we knew the day would be easy, a conversation would go smoothly, an election would turn out how we hoped. What if prayer wasn’t the fire suppressant behind glass, to be broken and used only in case of emergency?

Don’t get me wrong. I am glad that we’ve been praying. I am reassured by the many prayers for unity, discernment, and peace offered by individuals, congregations, dioceses, and the wider church. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry set the tone this fall with his excellent video that voting and participation in our government is a Christian obligation.

As I’ve shared with you here in earlier posts, Forward Movement offered “A Season of Prayers,” a collection of prayers for thirty days before the election—and for the day after the election. The Diocese of Indianapolis is offering ways to pray, from lighting a virtual candle to gathering for solemn prayer as different churches through the state open their doors on Election Day. Church of the Resurrection in Eugene, Oregon, is crossing the interfaith aisle, joining with a local Buddhist community to offer guided meditation and a time of silence this evening. And I know many individuals have been earnestly praying for justice and for peace.

I am so grateful for these opportunities.

Regardless of the election’s outcome, I hope that I wake up tomorrow and pray first. About whatever the needs of the world and in thanksgiving for the many gifts from God. Whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is our president, Jesus is still our King.

Hallelujah. And Amen.

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