Pray ... for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. ~~ I Timothy 2:2
Prayer is not the last thing Christians can do to influence the 2004 General Election on Nov. 2 - it is the greatest resource we have. As John Lind, president/CEO of The Presidential Prayer Team (PPT), points out, "Prayer is the greatest unifier available to mankind. It has been a unifier since the inception of our country. Our desire has always been to spark a grassroots effort to rekindle our reliance on prayer to keep us united as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, but as Americans."
"Prayer has given me more confidence, a sense of calmness and responsibility to cast my vote for the right person who has the fear of God and will lead the nation in this very challenging time," writes Ayub Francis Nasar on the PPT website. "I personally feel that prayer has changed the minds of many of my friends for this coming election. They believe that they have to vote for a person who keeps moral values."
It's not too late for you to make a difference in our nation's history. You can join more than 39,000 people who will be praying for God's will to be done on Nov. 2 as the Presidential Prayer Team hosts a Virtual Prayer Rally the evening before.
Each participant selects an hour segment to pray for American voters at www.presidentialprayerteam.org and brings before God the candidates, the election mechanisms and the safety of the nation. "We also encourage you to talk with those in your circle of influence, encouraging them to pray and vote," Lind adds. "Pray for Americans to honor God and His purposes as they vote."
The Election Eve Rally is the culminating event of the Pray the Vote initiative, which launched in June. "Our goal," says Lind, "is to encourage people to take seriously their right to vote. Not only should they vote, but they should do so as informed as they can be."
PPT member Mary Hutchins participated in the Oct. 5 rally and will do so again on Nov. 1. She shares a little about her experience: "I set my clock for 4:50 a.m. so that I would be praying when the clock struck 5:00. Besides Psalm 85, I used other scriptures, my own heartfelt words, and the prayers of Peter Marshall from 1947, which he prayed over the Senate. I, too, felt it was an awesome opportunity to bring our country before the throne of God in humble prayer, devoted praise and sincere worship. I will do the same on Nov. 1 from 5 a.m. until 6 a.m. specifically, as well as when prompted by the Holy Spirit."
Many churches and groups have created special events to spark prayer and motivate voters. New Covenant United Methodist Church in Edmond, Okla., for example, is hosting a Pray the Vote party on Sunday, Oct. 31. Each of the congregation's 18-year olds will pray at the pulpit, followed by a closing prayer from Senior Pastor Adrian Cole. The lighting will be patriotic and the audience will be given small flags and patriotic nametags. Refreshments will include shortbread cookies with white frosting and red, white and blue sprinkles, and red punch with blue ice cubes. There will also be decorative bowls of tootsie rolls and mints in red, white and blue wrappers.
"Both the Democratic and Republican Headquarters have been notified of this event as well," writes member Deb Corbett. "God is watching us ... from a distance!"
Christians Should be Involved
The Presidential Prayer Team is a non-profit, non-partisan effort dedicated to informing and encouraging people to pray daily for the President and our Nation. Membership is free and open to anyone who is willing to commit to pray each day. Members receive weekly email prayer updates, access to prayer resources on the Internet, and a membership decal.
According to Lind, the team launched after the tragedy of 9/11 to encourage people to pray daily for the President. From there it broadened to include other leaders in the United States and military personnel. Most recently, says Lind, members have called to ask what they can do during this election. "You have to remember that, as an organization, we're not that old. We've never been through an election cycle before. So we put our brains together and came up with Pray the Vote."
Right at the start, the team realized some people would wonder whether Christians should be involved in the political arena. To answer that question, the folks at Pray the Vote conducted a poll. According to Lind, more than 95 percent of the people responded that Christians should be involved.
"I think that's a pretty tell-tale statistic to say we need to be involved in the process," says Lind. "God has given us the privilege to vote. And He's given us the privilege to live in a democracy. If you look around the world, we're fairly rare and I think the world has taken note of our success."
Lind acknowledges that voter apathy exists: "I think that's plain and I think it's even prevalent in the Christian community. We want to encourage people to vote obviously. But there are so many movements within the Body focusing on voter registration. We thought, 'Why tackle that? Why don't we do what we do best?' That's our niche - encouraging people not only to vote - but between now and Nov. 2, to pray."
Is this election particularly crucial? Lind responds that throughout history, "any presidential election is crucial. So, yes, I think it is. Plus, we live in a different time than we did four years ago. It is crucial, but I come from the point where every election is crucial.
"Whoever's elected," Lind concludes, "we need to stand in prayer with them, and the administration, and leaders they choose as well. The Presidential Prayer Team is not the George W. Bush Prayer Team. It just so happens that he got elected and we had this tragedy. But the thing is, we base our object of prayer around the office of the President."
Visit Pray the Vote at www.praythevote.com