One of the things I teach my students is to use the Lord’s Prayer as a template for their prayer lives, since it leads us to focus on the Lord’s priorities and forms us in godly affections. Here’s my prayer for election day, modeled on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13:
Our gracious, heavenly Father, we are truly thankful that you reign above the heavens, and that we can call on you as true sons and daughters through the grace you have given us in Jesus Christ. We know that to you the nations are as dust in the scales; we ask, remembering your greatness and transcendence over all the rulers of the earth, that as much as we love our nation and our land, you would preserve us from making it an idol.
You are the Holy One, pure and righteous. We desire to honor and glorify your Name above all. We confess that we are prone to confuse our preferences with your will, and we ask that you would grant us grace not to take your Name in vain by asserting or implying that any human institution or ideology can claim your particular favor.
We remember, Lord, that you have taught us to seek first the Kingdom of God. As we participate in this election, remind us, Father, even as we cast our ballots, that our citizenship is in heaven, from which we await our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. Help us keep our hope fixed firmly on him, and help us remember that in him we are secure, no matter whom our nation chooses to govern us. And though we pray that our leaders may be wise and refrain from provoking your scorn, we nevertheless pray that your kingdom would come soon, and that you would renew the heavens and the earth, so that we can be with our only Lord, in the only kingdom where righteousness dwells.
We know, Lord, that all our earthly authorities are prone to let us down. We anticipate disagreement, disappointment, and possibly even betrayal of the desires and hopes we have for our leaders. Knowing that these are fallen humans, we pray that you would keep us from falling into cynicism or despair, but help us remember that nothing of the affairs of the kingdoms of this world is ultimate. Help us to rejoice in the gospel, knowing that it alone is the power of God for salvation for all who believe. Even if one we regard as an enemy is elected, we pray that you would remind us by your Holy Spirit to pray for that one, as Jesus commanded us to do. And by your grace, prompt us to do good, and to hold fast and hold forth the Word of life to the people of our nation, knowing that it will not fail. Help us to do what is honorable in the sight of all, to do good to all people, and in particular, to love one another in the Body of Christ, so that we may glorify your name.
Thank you, Lord, for a prosperous nation, in which most citizens are able to work and find their needs met. We acknowledge that as fragile and dependent people we receive your provision as a gift from you, and not as a result of our own efforts. We pray that our leaders would wisely steward the resources of our nation so that its people’s needs would be met. We recognize that there are yet many in need, and we pray that we who belong to you would be eager to remember the poor, the orphans, and the most vulnerable in our society in tangible ways, looking upon them with love and compassion rather than with suspicion and contempt. Lord Jesus, we ask also that we, your church, would be faithful to our commission in word and in deed, and that our proclamation of the truth would be as loving as it is faithful and fearless. We pray that our leaders would allow us to live peaceable, godly, and dignified lives, and that our national leaders would protect and preserve our liberty to worship you as we ought, in Spirit and in truth.
We confess, Lord, that numberless times we have failed to love our political opponents, and have regarded them as enemies with malice and anger. Please forgive us for this, and grant us grace to forgive them, to love them, to pray for them, and to fervently desire for them the blessings of your grace. Remind us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, and that he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We thank you that when we confess our sins, we can be assured of the forgiveness we have received through faith in your sacrifice for us, and that it is not by earthly power that the dead are raised to life.
Father, we see the power of the prince of this world all around us, pressuring us to abandon our commitment to your Word and to the truth. Grant us, please, that we would not fall before his temptations, but would be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Lead us away from our desire to secure our well-being by trusting in human power, and deliver us from fear. Grant us your Spirit, who leads us through the power of the gospel, to bring forth in us the fruit of love and self-control. Sustain us by the joy of your salvation.
We acknowledge, Father, that there is no king, no president, no government apart from your providence, and that yours is the only true and eternal kingdom. We joyfully proclaim your power and your glory as ambassadors of the reconciliation you have effected in Jesus Christ, and we praise you that of his kingdom there will be no end. And we offer our prayer to you, Father, as your people, through the Holy Spirit, and in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever. Amen.