First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
(1 Timothy 2:1-2)
I write this on the day of the election of our southern neighbours, an election which for many is the most important in their lifetimes. Record numbers of advance voting, worries of election violence, radically differing visions of a national future – all under the shadow of pandemic, global economic and political uncertainty. Although the combination of specific concerns are unique to our time, we as an historic Church have been here before. The Apostle Paul wrote to his protege, Timothy, in a time of radical unrest for Christians and many others in the Roman ancient world. Christians, as in many areas of the world today, suffered systemic persecution. Health crises were the norm, and economic uncertainty was a given. To an outward observer, life must have looked bleak for many Christians.
Yet, Paul urges prayer and thanksgiving for all people, and especially for those who are in authority, ‘that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way’. Through the lens of power and fear, there is much to be worried, anxious, and disheartened about when we look to the political discourse of our time. But through the lens of the kingdom of God, we look to Jesus Christ as our model, our resurrected forerunner, our way of life. It is in him that we never lose hope or sight of our purpose to bring God’s light and peace into a broken world.
So we pray boldly for the election and its results. We pray for all US candidates, national governments and leaders, that the Lord of All would restrain evil and promote his heavenly good throughout the world, that all people would lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified.
The Episcopal Church, an American province of the Anglican Communion, offers this prayer on the day of election:
May God continue to bring his peace, justice, and hope this day until his great and glorious coming. 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.
Peace in Christ.