Elections and the Elect

The 2015 federal election is in full swing. An 11 week campaign has been launched and now in just under 70 days voters will elect those who will represent their ridings in the Parliament of Canada.

Upon hearing about such a lengthy election campaign, many thought it too long and wasteful.  But perhaps there is God’s provision in this. Perhaps this election is too vital to the future of Canada that we needed 11 weeks for the church to pray for it. Perhaps the importance of this election required 11 weeks of prayer to God for Canada, its future, and its next elected government. Whatever your view on the length of the campaign, this is a profound opportunity to impact our nation through prayer!

Our friends over at Nation at Prayer have put together a helpful guide for your prayers, no matter what your political stripe. We thought it a helpful piece for us at Knox.

Elections matter. Whatever one may think of the state of democracy in Canada today, we are privileged to live in a country with open and free elections.  Over the years we have celebrated with friends as they have become Canadian citizens.  Without exception, they are most excited about the opportunity to vote in their first Canadian election, knowing the privilege and responsibility this represents. They know that with privilege comes responsibility, and the privilege of voting carries the responsibility to vote.

As people of faith, we know full well that the perfect candidate and the perfect leader do not exist; that to fulfill the expectations and responsibility of elected office requires a wisdom, endurance, insight, courage and grace that exceed human capability; and that our focus is to go beyond the person to the Source of perfect wisdom, authority and grace.  We know too that every believer has the potential to impact the election and the nation through inviting and trusting in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.

So, first and foremost, let this election call be a call to a season of prayer. Only the Holy Spirit can impart the wisdom to meet the complexities and challenges of governing wisely. This begins by praying for those who are seeking to be elected. 

Here are a few prayer suggestions:

– that this election will serve God’s purposes for Canada

– that candidates will be filled with integrity, courage, humility, and grace

– that the Holy Spirit will guide and guard the thoughts and speech of candidates

– that candidates and campaign material will present positions and platforms clearly, openly and fully

– that candidates and their families will be granted wisdom, endurance, and protection

– that the Holy Spirit will guide electors in examining issues and candidates, and in voting

– that every elector will value and exercise the right to vote

– that elected candidates will be individuals of integrity, discernment, grace, courage, conviction, vision, perseverance, and character

– that elected candidates will be willing servants who are open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit

Secondly, become informed about party platforms and about the candidates who are running in your area. There are endless debates about whether one should vote for the local candidate or for the party leader. The fact of the matter is, in Canada we do not get to vote directly for the leader; which leader becomes Prime Minister is determined by how many party candidates are elected. It starts at the level of the candidates, and who can provide the best representation for the riding in Parliament.    

And finally, prayerfully and knowledgeably exercise the right to vote. Advance polls will be set up prior to October 19th to ensure ample opportunity to cast your ballot in advance or on the day of the election. You can check now to makes sure you are registered to vote; follow the instructions here.  And remember to take acceptable ID with you when you cast your ballot. (Your voter registration card is not acceptable.) 

As individuals, and as people of faith, we all have a variety of options available to become involved in the election. Pray for direction as to what you are to do, and how actively involved you are to become.

John Bunyan provides a great reminder for those deciding on how to participate in this election campaign:  “You can do more than pray, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

Photo credit: Library and Archives Canada

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