The Bishop’s E-pistle: Prayers for an Election

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, page 822, “For an Election.”)

The last ten days have been exhausting. As a friend commented, this year there is “Not just an October surprise but an Advent calendar of October surprises where a new door opens every day.”

When I am overwhelmed, I turn to prayer.

I pray for our nation; I pray for our President; I pray for candidates at every level of office; I pray for all who have suffered and died from COVID-19, both the mighty and the lowly; I pray for every citizen to be able to freely cast their ballot as an expression of their values and hopes for the future of our nation.

I also pray for myself: that in my own heart I may consistently follow the way of Jesus. That I may continue to listen to others with curiosity and respect. That I may not give in to the temptation to be silent to avoid conflict. That I may demonstrate, both inwardly and outwardly, that I believe that every human being is a child of God, even those with whom I disagree, and even those who wish me harm.

I pray that just as I desire our nation to examine our history and our practices to seek out imperfection so that we may correct what is wrong and move forward in justice and reconciliation, so I will be willing to do that work in my own soul. Where I am in error may I correct the error and move forward with humility.

A few weeks ago I invited you to join me in reading, studying, and praying with Romans 12. I continue to do so: “Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)

May St. Paul’s words guide us in the weeks and months ahead.