A Call for Prayer and Fasting

The lights have gone out on the final debate of this presidential election season, and most folks - even those of us who are admittedly quite partisan - couldn't be happier about that. Those of us in "swing states" must still endure a barrage of TV ads, and our phones will still be ringing off the hook with robocalls from the candidates and their surrogates alike. But TVs can be muted, and phone calls ignored - or we can hang up without guilt since we're not being addressed by live callers anyway. The end is in sight.

I am, of course, hoping for a change. Anyone who knows me on Facebook and many who know me in real life are not surprised to hear that I want a Romney victory. I have not always been so partisan - I even voted for Bill Clinton (twice!) - but, as I've said many times over the last several months, I believe it's critical for our country's well-being that we remove from office the man currently occupying our White House. He is not just another liberal; he is something else entirely, and he's not good for us. I won't apologize for my views because I've come to them by paying very close attention all throughout the last four years. I don't believe Mitt Romney is our political "savior," but I'm confident he will direct us away from the edge of the economic cliff we're on and competently lead in other areas as well.

Of course, as a Christian I'm ultimately a citizen of Heaven. So, though I believe all Americans have a duty to be engaged in our political process - after all, God placed each of us in this land at this time for a reason, and we shirk our responsibilities and dishonor Him if we put our heads in the sand just because the process is "ugly" - I also know the results of the election are in God's hands. He already knows who will win the contest and why He's ordained the results as He has.

But, though He's omniscient - about politics and everything else - God also calls us to pray. In fact, He tells us in Ephesians 6.18 to "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests," and in 1 Thessalonians 5.17 to "pray without ceasing." And we know from His interactions with Abraham, to name just one example, that He takes our desires into consideration when rolling out His plans.

With all that in mind, I am calling on all who see this post to commit to prayer and fasting between now and November 6. Skip at least one meal a day - plan now which meal is most feasible for you - and spend the time you'd normally use to prepare and eat that food praying for the election and for our country. And, if you're physically able, fast for the entire day on November 6.

God has always listened to the entreaties of His people. And fasting puts us in a place of humility before Him while also supernaturally aligning our hearts with His. If prayer by itself is a jet, prayer with fasting is the Concord. It's well worth the effort.

Personally, I'll be asking God to deliver us from the path our country has taken these last four years. Some people think that's wrong - that I shouldn't ask for a particular man to win or lose - but I disagree. I have well-informed reasons for my position. And God tells us to bring all our requests to Him; He'll sort them out and determine which ones are in His will.

I will not be shaken if the results don't go as I hope. In that case, I'll know God's answer is for us as it was for the wayward Israelites many times: "I love you, but I cannot deliver you yet. You must continue on this path of discipline; there are consequences for the way you've walked away from me as a nation over the past several decades." On the other hand, if Mr. Romney wins, I'll rejoice - not to "spike the football" but, rather, simply to thank the Lord for hearing and for granting mercy.

Either way, He is sovereign, but I'll be spending the next two weeks crying out to Him for deliverance. Yes, deliverance. The path this country is on now is so dangerous on so many levels that we need a change. If we get it, that will mean God has chosen to sustain us despite ourselves.

"If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray
 and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sins, and will deliver their land."
2 Chronicles 7.14

"...All things are possible with God."
Mark 10.27b

Photo Credit: ShepherdChurch


Stacie said...

I respect your decisions and viewpoints, Tina. I would like to offer my thoughts, if I may.

How would Jesus vote? Would He vote in this presidential election? I really don't think that Jesus would vote for either person, knowing their personal beliefs, that they've publicly expressed, concerning matters of Faith. I don't think He would vote for either political platform for that matter, given the various issues and the candidates stances.

I've heard many say that we "have to vote for the lesser of 2 evils." My thought on that is, when would God ever ask me to chose evil at all? He never would.

I think that as Christians, before we're caught up in politics, party affiliaitons, and the like, we must ask ourselves, What would Jesus do? Although God has placed each American in America for a reason, I do not think we dishonor Him by not voting.

As a Christian, I cannot sign my name for any candidate who is not in line with the Word of God. As a Christian, I name the Name of Christ, my name is not my own. I represent Him. I will not dishonor Him by voting for any candidate that is not in line with the Word of God.

I do agree with you wholeheartedly that this is a major time of prayer and fasting for our nation. Our country needs God's direction and reverence for Him as a whole. It is God who has the ability change the course of this nation; He is the One we should seek to do so.

Very respectfully submitted,

Tina Hollenbeck said...

I appreciate your perspective, Stacie. I have heard it from several other people.

The problem with the view that we cannot vote unless a candidate or platform is wholly in line with God's Word is two-fold: 1. There will never be a candidate who completely aligns with Scripture. Even a Bible-believing Christian candidate will have areas of sin and areas where he may misinterpret certain Scriptures; and 2. There have been very few actual Christians who've been president throughout our history. Many have attended churches that would be considered "orthodox," yet only a handful were likely saved/born again. Does this mean that Christians should not have voted for them even if they were good men wanting to serve our country?

This sinful world is very messy, and politics is among the messiest venues in it. Yet I believe we are called to vote - and to actively participate in our governmental processes. If that had not been God's intention, He could have placed us all in a different era and/or in a different country. There will be no perfect candidate and no perfect platform so, yes, we are, in essence, called to vote for the lesser of two evils...every single time, not just in this election. Less evil is not perfect, but it's certainly better than more of it. I am not one to think we'll create any sort of utopia here on Earth - Jesus will do that when He returns - but I think it's irresponsible to choose not to vote. And it's foolish to vote for a third party since, like it or not, we essentially have a two-party system. In addition, none of the third party candidates is perfect either; all are evil to a greater or lesser extent.

I am more adamant this time than I've been in the past because, as I said, I have done a lot of studying about what's going on with the current administration. Every American should be very concerned because the man in the White House is not our garden variety Democrat. And I, for one, cannot in good conscience do nothing "on principle" just because his opponent is not perfect. Barring the Lord's return - and may that be soon! - my children and grandchildren will have to live in this nation for very many years, and I have to do what I can to assure they have the freedom our Constitution calls for so that they can glorify the Lord in their lives without fear or retribution.

Stacie said...

Well, Tina, I guess we will have to disagree on this one. I don't think that not voting is the same as "doing nothing." I do not see voting as the only option I have to help impact this country for the better. Instead of joining hand in hand with evil, no matter how "less" it is, I will be praying for this nation, its leaders, and for the Christians here to take stand for Christ. I will continue to teach my children that no matter what the political process is in our country, nothing is more important than standing for Jesus, even if that includes not to voting for a particular candidate. That is not "doing nothing."

I am not looking for a perfect candidate. . .that's unrealisitic. That's like saying that the pastor of my church must be "perfect" before I'll attend a worship service, or that my children shouldn't obey me because I am not "perfect." Again, unrealistic as we all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.

But I am looking for a candidate that is unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and is willing to live out his or her faith in God, in their personal and political lives, no matter how unpopular it is.

I wonder how different our political scene would be in this country if Christians placed their faith in God, and Him alone. Not in a candidate, a platform, ideology, party affiliation and so on. I'm sure if enough Christians banned together and stood on the Word of God and refused to just hand our votes over to the one who is the "lesser of the evils" that our country would be in a much different place.

I think that because we've settled, as a nation, for the "lesser of the two" so often, we begin to become lax and we tend to "overlook" things poltically that we wouldn't dare overlook personally, according to our faith in Jesus. I just don't think as Christians we should separate the two. Candidates feel free to offer us things that are not in line with the Word of God, because they think that we'll just vote for them anyway, as though we have no choice. And often times, unfortunately, they've been right.

Again, I just completely disagree that God would mandate that I participate in any kind of evil at all. It's simply against His character. I also do not think that just because God made me an American means He has "called" me to vote. (There are many "American" things that I will not participate in because they do not align with the Bible. Take slavery for instance--that was an "American" thing to do at one point in time, but was clearly out of line with God's Word.) God would not require me to chose someone or something that is not in line with His Word, ever.

So, while I will not be voting for either presidential candidate, I will be voting on particular issues that have made it to the ballot, according to God's Word. Just to be clear, I don't think voting in and of itself is evil, but I think as Christians, we must tread very carefully with our votes. I don't think being an American is a Biblical reason for chosing evil.

Tina Hollenbeck said...

Yes, my friend, we'll have to agree to disagree. Obviously, I'm committed to prayer; in addition to posting this, I've created a Facebook event that I hope spreads beyond my friend list (it has already a bit), calling Christians to pray and fast. And that's the most important thing Christians can do about anything - elections or anything else. But we have to take action as well and politics will always be about choosing the lesser of two evils; as I said, even a devout Christ- follower will have some evil motives and actions. And it's rare to get a Christian president - a president who makes decisions based on Scripture. I bet we could count on one hand the number of truly born-again American presidents. But many - from both parties - who were not believers did good for our country and applied Scriptural principles without even knowing it at times. And God used them for His purposes though they may not even have known it (kind of how he used Xerxes and Cyrus the Great for marvelous purposes though they didn't have a clue who He is or live their lives to honor Him). I know many Christians who feel that politics is too "dirty" to get involved in, but that's not where I'm coming from - it's not how God has led me. My call is to get down to the nitty-gritty of life, even when it's ugly.

I think my commitment can be summed up in a post a friend shared on Facebook tonight:

Who will I vote for?

I will vote for the most pro-life candidate, because God hates the shedding of innocent blood (Prov. 6:17).

I will vote for the most pro-Israel candidate, because God blesses those who bless Israel & curses those who don't (Gen. 12:3).

I will vote for the most pro-debt reduction candidate, because the borrower is servant to the lender (Prov. 22:7).

I will vote for the most pro-work candidate because God says if a man does not work, let him not eat. (2 Thess. 3:10).

I will vote for the most pro-marriage candidate, because God is for marriage as defined in Genesis 2:24.

I will vote for the candidate who most closely believes government's purpose is to reward the good & punish the evil (Romans 13).

I will vote based as closely as I can on God's Word (2 Tim. 3:16), knowing that whoever gets elected, God is the one who puts all men in authority (Dan.2:21).

May God have mercy on America. I will vote.

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