When voting isn’t enough: 3 prayers for a weary electorate

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Supporters pray before Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mark Makela
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-ELECTION-PRAYERS, originally transmitted on Nov. 8, 2016.

Supporters pray before Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a rally at Atlantic Aviation in Moon, Pa., on Nov. 6, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mark Makela *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-ELECTION-PRAYERS, originally transmitted on Nov. 8, 2016.

(RNS) Election prayers aren’t new, just particularly sought after this year, when so many voters have been driven to their knees over the acrimony that has characterized Campaign 2016.

In general, these prayers do not ask God to intervene on the side of any particular candidate, but to strengthen and unify the country. Which prayer to choose? A spectrum of clergy and religious groups offer suggestions, three of which are excerpted below.

For nasty, less inclusive and highly partisan prayers, try Twitter.

Knights of Columbus’ novena

The Catholic fraternal organization encouraged Catholics to pray this novena — a prayer repeated for nine consecutive days — starting on Oct. 30, nine days before Election Day. It was written for the 1959 dedication of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington and includes the following verse:

“Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom which has been its heritage.”

T’ruah: The rabbinic call for human rights

The rabbis of this human rights group composed and released this
“Prayer for the Election and New Government”  several days before Election Day. Among its verses:

“May it be Your will, at this season of our election, to guide us towards peace. By voting, we commit to being full members of society, to accepting our individual responsibility for the good of the whole. May we place over ourselves officials in all our gates … who will judge the people with righteousness (Deuteronomy 16:18), and may we all merit to be counted among those who work faithfully for the public good. Open our eyes to see the image of God in all.”

A prayer from Pastor Kevin DeYoung

DeYoung, of University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Mich., wrote A Prayer on Election Day, which reads in part:

“Despite our many failings and sins as a nation, we pray that in your mercy you would give us better leaders, legislators and judges than we deserve. May those elected to public office in America be men and women of high character, good judgment and uncommon ability. May their policies promote human flourishing and protect the lives of the most vulnerable at home and abroad.”