As a college student, I was a proud Republican. Freshmen year, I told my RA that my favourite chapel all year was the one announcing that George W Bush won the 2004 presidential election. (She looked slightly horrified.)
Like other Midwestern Republicans, I bemoaned the loosening moral fibre of our country. I attended conferences calling for a national revival, and I eagerly read books published by conservative talk show hosts.
Since then, I’ve become much more politically moderate. (It’s complicated.)
Yet during this election season, I find myself again concerned for our country, for our culture. My heart is heavy whenever I see how divisive and polarized our conversations are. I am deeply troubled by the misogyny, the threats, and the vitriol on all sides of the campaign. Ignorance, not wisdom, is celebrated. Nobody is willing to be honest and transparent; nobody is willing to be gracious.
And the campaigns’ tone, I feel, simply reflects the broader spirit of the country. We are quick to share our own opinion, and slow to listen; quick to point fingers, slow to accept blame; quick to bully and harass and kill each other, slow to turn the other cheek. We are more likely to slam the door in someone’s face than we are to welcome and help them.
We are wrestling with hard social questions, from police accountability to racism to freedom of speech to drug usage and poverty among the working poor.
We are distracted from what is truly important. In love with our own stuff, we accumulate material goods and map out own own lives, unmoored from community, and we do not notice that we are on the broad road which leads to destruction.
I realize that the situation is not so bleak as I paint it. I’m a glass half empty person; can you tell? Yes, there is a lot of good in the world.
Yet the fact remains that this summer and autumn have been uniquely stressful for our country, and have exposed deep and painful wounds in our cultural fabric.
And so I come to the purpose of this post: We are four Tuesdays out from Election Day (including the day itself), and I have decided to devote time every Tuesday to praying for our country.
I invite you to join me.
Every Tuesday, I will post a prayer for our country, likely taken from those written by church leaders but perhaps also from the Psalms. In the evening, I will spend time in prayer for our country.
I do not presume to dictate the subject of your prayers. We who follow Christ are scattered all over the political spectrum. Some of us will vote for one presidential candidate; some for the other; some will not vote at all. We do not even share the same burdens; some of us will pray for racial reconciliation in our country; some for unwed mothers; some for an end to homelessness.
The point is not to pray about the same things but to pray to the same God, our Father who carries our burdens with us, who cares for us, and who has promised that He will work mightily if we approach Him together.
Please join me in praying every Tuesday for our country for the next month. If you are so moved, you are welcome to share this post with your friends and family, that they too may join us in praying that our country will know God’s redeeming, healing love.
I want to close with Jesus’s words to His disciples, from Matthew 11.28-29:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.