2020 National Prayer Challenge Guide
Thank you for joining in with us to pray for our community and nation in the days surrounding the 2020 elections. If you haven't signed up, take a minute to do so first HERE. Please use this post as a guide for your 30 minutes in prayer and beyond this week. (The following content is edited with permission from Scott Ridout and his full post here.)
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (1 Pet. 5:5)
There is a lot at stake at the local, state and national level in every election year. Political parties have done their best to craft their messages, communicate their positions and empower their supporters to recruit others to buy into their platform. It is a beautiful thing.
I appreciate the freedoms we have in this country to express our opinions, leverage our influence and make our vote count. I am grateful for the opportunity to effect change. I hope you are, too.
Regardless, every election has winners and losers. Rarely do either respond well.
You have a great opportunity this week to focus your heart on trusting God and to reflect the peace that knowing Jesus personally brings in your life to those around you.
With that in mind, begin your time in prayer personally reflecting over the following passages from 1 Peter.
1 Peter gives us a particularly helpful framework as we discern God’s leading to our present scenario. Peter writes to the church scattered across Asia, which was experiencing great difficulty. The government challenged, tried and persecuted believers for their faith. Life had been hard and leaders had been hard to follow. Christians were wondering how to respond.
In this context, Peter reminds the church to live in hope and holiness and in genuineness and generosity. He calls them to live distinctly in and distinguished from the world. In chapters 1-3, we see consistent themes of response to their circumstance. Peter’s words to them are great reminders to us.
(1) Take time to read and pray as God leads you to with these verses:
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:14-16)
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (1 Pet. 2:1)
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. (1 Pet. 3:8)
These verses remind us that...
Win or lose, we are called to demonstrate the character of Christ.
(2) Pray for Christians across our community and nation to lead in treating all people with dignity. Use the following verses to guide your prayers:
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. (1 Pet. 1:22)
Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Pet. 2:17)
Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Pet. 3:9)
Regardless of color or culture, background or bank account, personal priorities or political persuasion, every person is made in the image of God and deserves honor and respect. Those who vote differently are not the enemy. Satan is.
Our response to those who disagree or see differently is not to dismiss or disparage, but to respond with humility and courtesy. We’ve got to reestablish the priority of civility — showing honor, respect, patience and sincere care that have been so scarce in this season.
(3) Pray that, win or lose, Christians will seek to do good.
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. (1 Pet. 1:17)
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Pet. 2:12)
For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Pet. 3:10-12)
While elections focus on rights, God calls the church to focus on responsibilities. The church is called to do good in such a way that the world sees our good deeds and glorifies our Father in heaven (Mt. 5:16), knowing that we will give account to God for how we lived on this earth. We are called to be peacemakers (Mt. 5:9) and bridge builders (2 Cor. 5:18).
(4) Pray that, win or lose, we will hope in Jesus Christ not political parties or power.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet. 1:3-5)
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. (1 Pet. 1:13)
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Pet. 1:21)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Pet. 3:15)
We all tend to put hope in outcomes, whether it be sports teams, systems, ideologies or elections. Peter reminds us that hope in the gospel is more powerful than any proposition, amendment or measure. Putting hope in God is wiser than placing it in any president, political party or platform.