I’m writing this before the polls close on Tuesday, and it’ll be posted Thursday, when the results will (knock on wood) be set. So I’m giving myself a challenge:
What prayer do I want to say on Thursday with everyone else who reads this, no matter what boxes we all filled in?
What divine grace will our country need regardless of who controls Congress?
What promises will I claim for the friends, relatives, Christians, and citizens who voted differently than me?
Well, I don’t know exactly, but here’s what I’ve got:
Grant us rest. For the last few months our hearts and minds have been filled with rhetoric, with insults, with comebacks, with unkeepable human promises. We’ve been deafened and numbed by biting Facebook posts and blaring TV ads. Give us silence so that our ears can heal and open again and hear Jesus say, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” May we shed our dragon’s skin of cynicism and relearn honesty and trust from the ground up, like little children.
Grant us sight. Remind us that the people we just elected are indeed people, incapable of both superhuman good and superhuman evil. Those we agree with are broken, sinful, and weak. Those we disagree with are made in your image, and you love them. Remind us that politics is not life, leaders are not nations, and America is not the world.
Grant us fire. The two sides of our political system are not the same, and lives were changed on Tuesday. But regardless of who won, our country will continue to have almost all the same problems it did last week, from racism and misogyny to abortion and out-of-control spending. And it’s up to us, the people, to fix those problems. Give us the courage to keep fighting for what we believe is right whether this week feels like a setback or a step forward. Help us turn away from complacency or despair and towards the work of sharing your love and protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
Grant us hope. Comfort and warn us with the knowledge that this hope is never to be found in humans, but only in you. Use everyday kindnesses, deep friendships, ancient books, beautiful music, and even fruitful political debates to remind us that all is not lost, but neither is all yet won. Terms of office end and blue or red waves crash, but everything good that happened in this election cycle—new advocacy movements and networks, healthy conversations between friends, youthful enthusiasm for political involvement—will last. There is more work to do, but we can do it confidently in the knowledge that our labor is not in vain.
Lord, heal this country in ways elections never will.
Lord, use us to heal this country in ways elections can.
Thank you that this country is a democracy and that the universe is not.
In the name of the one who took the government upon his shoulders, amen.
Josh Parks graduated from Calvin in 2018 with a BA in English literature and violin performance, and he completed an MA program in medieval studies at Western Michigan University in 2020. He is currently a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, which means his plans to be in school forever are working out well. When not writing, he can be found playing violin, drinking coffee, making excruciating puns, and trying to learn Old French.