PUBLISHED ON 7 NOVEMBER, 2016 BY ANN MILLER
USA (MNN) — On the day before the presidential elections in the United States, you can hear a sigh of relief: it’s almost over.
This cycle has been a historically ugly campaign that has dragged on for over a year. The result is the majority of voters are disgusted by the state of American politics. A last minute New York Times/CBS News Poll reveals doubts loom large over whether we can put the angst to rest after the votes are counted.
Vicious attacks and counterattacks are plastered all over social media feeds along with posted links to articles ‘proving’ a poster’s point. What’s more, among Christians, the arguments are visceral. Civil discourse quickly unravels to castigation and snide comments and often ends with a contemptuous ‘smh’ (shaking my head).
The reality is religious beliefs do influence how people vote, but fewer Americans are going to church these days. Fewer still Americans are reading their Bibles on a regular basis, according to studies released by the Barna Research Group. Popular media influence heavily sways about 20 percent of religious people headed to the polls tomorrow.
What does any of this mean? The outcome will have long-lasting impact, so it’s not to be taken lightly. This is the reality, says Chris Ruge, director of Prayercast, a sister ministry to Mission Network News. “There will be very real consequences for the way we interact with our government and the way we’re viewed by the rest of the world, and the influence we have. We need to pray and go into that polling place very near to God, trusting in Him to use us for His purposes.”
However, as followers Jesus, there is an intellectual assent to the idea that the White House cannot save America — that no leader in this country is our hope. Heads nod when people say, “Our hope is in God alone.” But Ruge wonders, “Do we really believe that? Do we live our lives knowing God alone is our hope, or do we earnestly fret over how this election is going to go, as if there was some fear inside that God wasn’t totally in control?”
It’s the difference between ‘religion’ and ‘faith’.
The elections come on the heels of the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. So much is at stake for those naming the name of Christ in other nations. The body of Christ in North America has been on its knees sharing the burden. Reflecting on that, Ruge prays:
“…even now, Father, for Your will for our country. We know Your ways are higher than our ways, Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We pray that You would reflect Your power and authority in what happens, not only in this election, but (also) in what happens Wednesday and Thursday and in the weeks, months, and years to come, as well. We pray for all of the candidates, that they would soften their hearts; that they would know You are God, and that they would fall before You in humble submission. God, for Your glory and for the good of Your people around the world, this is our prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.”