News and Events
Here in Ontario the Provincial election is fast approaching. On June 7th, Ontarians will head to the polls to elect the next provincial government.
In Canada it is a citizen’s right and privilege to participate in the democratic process by casting a vote. In Christian circles today, it seems that the subject of politics is something to tiptoe around. Individuals can become self-righteous or self-defensive of their political stance which can make talking about politics feel like the drawing of lines or the picking of sides. At times, this will cause Christians to avoid politics altogether in an effort to “keep the peace”. For many Christians however, the belief is that we should in fact participate in the election, have a voice in politics, and influence how society functions. Just how much influence the church should have in this regard is a big question that has answers to a varying degree depending on who you talk to. So should Christians be involved in the electoral process? I believe yes! How? Pray, vote, and let your voice be heard.
Praying is one of the best things we can do in any situation, including during an election. That said, I would like to outline 4 ways to pray during the election. Voting is the physical participation in the electoral process which can bring about change and influence. You can let your voice be heard by speaking to the candidates in your riding about what is important to you in the election. You can even do this after the election by speaking with the elected MPP about the things that matter to you.
1. Start with what you’ve got
Whether or not you voted for or support the current government, we are taught to pray for those in authority over us (1 Tim 2:1-3). Not only that, we are told to be subject to them (Rom 13:1). The question is not “should we pray?” but rather it is “Why should we pray?” and “What should we pray?”
So then, why should we pray? 1 Timothy 2:1-3 says that it is “good and pleasing in the sight of God” to pray for those in authority over us and that we should do so in order that “we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way”. We should also pray for those in government because they are servants of God for judgement and governance (Rom 13:1-5). What then, should we pray for those in government? Give thanks to God for them (1 Tim 2:1) because they do an awful lot of work running the country, province or city. Pray that they would have wisdom to do their job well, strength to carry out their tasks, and conviction to stand for what is right. Pray for the prosperity of the city/province/nation because in it is your prosperity (Jer 29:7). I think that it is important to note that the commands to pray for authority in the scriptures I referenced are all for hostile government. The scriptures in the New Testament are referring to the roman government which was known for the persecution of Christians and the Old Testament reference is about the government that took the Israelites into exile and captivity. If the commands given in light of blatantly hostile government, we are without excuse to pray for the government we have in our peaceful country.
2. Pray For Godly Government to Be Elected
Just because candidates or the leaders of the political parties are not professing Christians, it does not keep God from accomplishing His will. God has a way of working out His purposes regardless of who is in government. There are many examples of this in the Bible, take for instance, the story of Moses, Pharaoh and the exodus. No matter how hard Pharaoh tried to stop it from happening, the Israelites were freed from Egyptian slavery, they plundered the Egyptians and made their way out to the Promised Land. However, having a godly government that willingly works toward accomplishing God’s will and enacting His principles (consciously or otherwise) will make things exceedingly less painful. Pray for righteous, godly officials to be elected to government. Pray also that God would establish godly advisors to the elected officials like Joseph to Pharaoh, Mordecai to Ahasuerus, and Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar. Pray that the opposition party would act like a godly conscience in parliament challenging bad policy, injustice, and poor stewardship. Pray that the officials to be elected would be men and women of character, conscience, humility, and truth, that God would inspire, lead, guide, protect, bless, and prosper the work that they do.
3. Pray for Wisdom
We are blessed to live in a country/province where we get to have a say in who is in government through the democratic process by voting. It is a privilege we often take for granted. The Toronto Star reported that in the last provincial election the average voter turnout was 52.1%. That is just barely over half of the people eligible to vote that actually voted. That statistic is dismal. I would encourage anyone who is eligible to vote in this election to register and vote. Your vote matters. While it is important to vote, it is equally important that when you vote you are informed of the issues and platforms that the candidates support. Pay attention to the news, attend candidate debates, ask questions, and research what they stand for. Pray for wisdom and understanding concerning the issues and platforms for which the candidates stand and pray for discernment to know what issues are important to God in this election. Then go out and vote!
4. Don’t Stop Praying
After the election is over, regardless of who was elected, whether you voted for them or not, whether you agree with them or not, pray. Pray for the elected officials, pray that they prosper at their job at hand. Pray that they serve honourably, righteously, justly, honestly, and humbly. Pray that God works through them and in them. Remember that God is able to accomplish his purposes through whatever government is elected (Prov 21:1). Remember that God established the authorities (Dan 2:21) and that we owe them our respect (Rom 13:7) and honour (1 Pet 2:17).