Praying for Discernment is the Key to Your Vote
With only one month before the elections, many people remain undecided about the issues and candidates. Which candidates best represent their values? Which position on important issues will make the greatest, positive impact?
This year’s election will decide not only who will be President of the United States for the next four years, but will also decide which party will control the House and Senate. There are other important races for state legislatures, county officials and city leaders that are also significant. Finally, in many places, there are key issues on the ballot that will affect and in some cases change the way you do things on a daily basis. The outcome of all of these decisions will ultimately determine the course of your life – not just for the next four years, but for years to come.
So how do you determine who is the right person and what is the correct position to take? Your decision comes through intense prayer and through knowing the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
The Bible is full of stories of God answering prayer, giving wisdom, and moving in difficult circumstances: David’s cries to God for help when his life was in danger; Hezekiah’s prayer when confronted by Sennacherib; Esther’s prayer to save her people from annihilation. When seeking God, all these people prayed in complete knowledge of what was before them.
Praying in knowledge primarily means being prepared to approach God with your petition. It is not a quick, five-second “under your breath” or ritual prayer, but an intense, soul-searching petition of God.
First, as in any petition you bring before God, you must come knowing specifically what you want to ask. When it comes to deciding between candidates, you must study them and their platforms. Ask questions. Don’t just rely on television ads or Internet articles, but study their previous voting record. Character does matter, so be honest about what you’ve seen or know about them. Does their walk match their talk?
What about the ballot propositions? How will they affect not just you, but everyone else? What will be the long-term effects? How will they be paid for? There are many questions that need to be asked and researched. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
After doing your research, you must prepare yourself. When Esther went before Xerxes with her petition, she prepared herself in two ways: First, she spent three days fasting and praying; then she put on her royal robes and prepared to face the king. When you prepare to go before God Almighty, make sure you are mentally and spiritually ready. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24) To be admitted into the presence of the King, you must humble yourself and submit to His authority.
Next, you must present your petition with intentionality. Don’t become distracted by things around you or other thoughts, but stay focused on your petition. James 5:16 states: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
“Pray through” until you get some clarity. The Bible tells you in I Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing.” Pray scripture, just as Jesus did. Be patient. Just as God answered the petitions of David, Hezekiah and Esther, so also He will answer your plea for wisdom and guidance.
Finally, expect an answer with praise and thanksgiving. Receive the Lord’s guidance and acknowledge His control of the situation. “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
When you’re finally ready to mark your ballots, if you have followed these steps asking for guidance, you can be confident that no matter the outcome, you have done your best and can leave the rest to God. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Article for Presidential Prayer Team by Diann Noles. Diann Noles is a former editor and writer for Christian publications in Tucson, AZ and Portland, OR. She now serves as Public Relations Director for a major Christian non-profit organization. She and her husband Bill live in Tucson, AZ and have two sons and three grandchildren.