by Josh Hughes
Sovereign God, who sets up and puts down kings, and whose kingdom is forever,
We come before you today resting in your power, trusting in your wisdom, and hoping in your steadfast love even as we recognize the earthly significance of what has taken place in our country. Our nation has elected a new president, one who will bear the sword as your servant and minister for our good (Romans 13:4), and one to whom, by virtue of his office, our honor is due (Romans 13:7).
Lord, this has been a difficult election season. The rhetoric we’ve heard has been disheartening, and our nation has had to face some hard truths about itself. We are polarized on a number of important issues, and the divides that separate us were deepened by our major party presidential candidates in recent days. Today some Americans are despairing over the election result as a harbinger of your judgement, while others are celebrating it as a symbol of your salvation. These diverging perspectives are reflected in our nation, in our community, and in our own church - and in truth, this would be the case today even if we had seen a different result on November 8. As we seek to locate ourselves in this season of change, Father, your church looks to your unchanging word to show us who we are and what we are to do.
You tell us that we are your new people, called to live as agents of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Please help us to love our neighbors well. As we proclaim Jesus as mighty to save, let us be patient, kind and charitable toward those who think and believe differently than we do, particularly when we disagree on issues that are secondary to the gospel and its implications. Father, we grieve in a particular way the racial disunity and unrest that exist around us, which has been thrown into sharp relief through this election season. We preach and savor a gospel that destroys hostility between people groups (Ephesians 2:16) and makes all ethnicities one in Christ (Galatians 3:28). We pray you would help us to demonstrate and embody this oneness at Four Oaks. Help us listen to and learn from those whose experiences are different from our own, and let us love with courageous compassion. Please show us how we can partner with other local churches, linking arms to see Jesus’ kingdom and purposes advance. Let our shared love for others and our common hope in the gospel of Jesus ignite a revival that sweeps through our city and our nation.
You call us to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3), and so we pray for President-Elect Trump. As he assumes the mantle of leadership, we ask that you would grant him wisdom. Help him to carry out the duties of his office in a manner that is godly and dignified. We pray for a fruitful presidency, one that sees him make wise appointments to the judiciary, and present himself to the American people and the world in a manner that commends the best of the American experiment’s ideology. We ask that you would equip and compel him to do all that is in his power to contend for righteousness according to your word. Please make him your instrument for good, pursuing justice for the unborn, care for the poor and the destitute, welcome for the immigrant, and protection for the orphan. May he defend religious liberty and protect the dignity of all human life, regardless of age, gender and ethnicity. May President-Elect Trump, Vice President-Elect Pence, and the many elected officials at the local, state and federal levels know peace, blessing, and abundance as they govern, legislate, and lead.
You tell us that we are beloved children (Ephesians 5:1), called to hold fast to what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and contend for our faith (Jude 3). We ask that you would show us how to be good citizens of the United States, this lesser kingdom we inhabit as strangers and aliens, as we look to and live out our true citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20). Help us to boldly and winsomely support any and all efforts our civic leaders undertake that are godly and aligned with the principles of your word. Help us also to stand just as boldly and winsomely against any efforts they may pursue that are ungodly on the basis of Scripture’s authoritative judgments. Help us to preserve our prophetic witness to a culture that is morally and spiritually adrift and hostile toward you. This land is a place of exile for us, but we want to seek and work for her good as we await the coming of our eternal home in your kingdom - a city with eternal foundations, whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10), the only King who reigns eternally.
Most of all, your word reminds us how much we need you, Lord. You are the true king, the blessed and only Sovereign who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:15). May your light shine through us as we trust you and go to work today, tomorrow, and each day until that day when you return. On that day, the fullness of that light will push away the darkness once and for all, and all will be made new again.
We pray you will do all this through Jesus Christ, for it’s in his name we confidently pray, Amen.