In this political season, cynicism, confusion, and fear reign among people from all generations. In my personal experience, the emotions and turmoil are unprecedented. How did we get here? More importantly, how do we, whose core identity is that of citizens and representatives of our Father and His Kingdom, navigate this political season? How do we live as salt and light at this time in history? We must begin with prayer!
Pray for discernment. As Christians, we need to be brutally honest regarding how we have arrived at this place. In my observation and opinion, the evangelical Church has unwittingly embraced a watered-down and corrupted understanding of discipleship. We have embraced what Kendra Creasy Dean and others call a moralistic therapeutic deism. This has left this nation with far too many “believers” who are like the adulterated salt and dim lights Jesus warns against in Matthew 5:13-16. As a result, our voice has little to no credibility in the public square. Society readily points to the American Church’s corrupt leaders and hypocritical “followers.” More recently, voices from the public square are confronting evangelical leaders for an alliance with corrupt politicians in our effort to re-enter the halls of power. They’re asking, “How can you do this? How can you live with yourselves?” More and more, I’m asking the same question.
Pray for a repentant heart. The American Church must repent of its shallow, corrupted understanding of discipleship and rediscover its Jesus mission, which is to nurture passionate disciples who love Jesus, obey His teachings, and are eager to be transformed into His image. We must pursue holiness by becoming a people who love Jesus more than anything or anyone! Then we will be compelled to repent from our sins of rebellion; moral and sexual compromise; lukewarm hearts toward our God; broken relationships that are menaced by anger, unforgiveness, and slanderous hearts toward those who are made in the image of God; sick, dysfunctional marriages in which one or both individuals blame the other and resist taking responsibility for his/her actions; racism and misogyny … need I go on? Our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and peers see all this taking place. Peter admonishes believers, “For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household” (1 Peter 4:17). Repentance must begin with the family of God, of which I am a full participant. “Lord, start with me.” This may be the start of a revival that may reverberate throughout our land.
Pray for the courage to confront our leaders and would-be leaders. Instead of the evangelical Church forming an alliance with corrupt, self-seeking politicians (with the misguided hope that something good and beautiful might come out of such alliance), we must call our leaders to account. We must call our political leaders to be men and women of sound character who have a moral compass they’re committed to, because character matters a lot! We must be willing to be like Paul, who spoke to the Roman governor Felix about issues of righteousness, morality, ethics, and the coming judgment. As Paul spoke, the Holy Spirit brought such conviction and fear upon Felix that he told Paul, “That’s enough for today. I’ll call you back when it’s convenient.”
Pray for the Church’s willingness to persevere if/when those in power require the Church to compromise the gospel and accommodate government mandates. As we read the news, we already see the movement among government legislators and the courts to require accommodation from the Church, especially in the areas of sexuality and gender. The Church will need great wisdom and discernment in order to navigate these moral quagmires.
Finally, on October 30, I will address the question, “How do we think biblically about the election issues that are before us in our civic life?” We must wrestle with these issues. God has given us the privilege (for the time being) of having a voice in this process. In addition, we have scheduled two opportunities to pray for our Church and our nation. On November 1 and November 8, from 6-8 a.m., Elim will be open so that you can come and pray. More information will be forthcoming.
As we move forward, pray for our Church and our nation. Secondly, rest in our Father’s sovereign grace. His purposes will be accomplished, regardless of who occupies the White House. He always has and will continue to “turn the insanity of the nations to serve his purposes.”
 Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling Us About the American Church, Oxford University Press, 2010.