Election Faith Faith 2016 News Politics

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

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.”

About the author

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe has been a national reporter for RNS since 2011. Previously she covered government and politics as a daily reporter at the Charlotte Observer and The State (Columbia, S.C.)


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  • I can embrace all of the prayers offered above, with the caveat that I find no biblical warrant for placing anything in the hands of Jesus’ mother. While Mary should be rightly honored as an obedient servant of God, she should not be venerated as though she were a co-redemptrix with her Son. Her capacity for intervention in spiritual matters ended when she departed this life, as intercession is the role and responsibility of living souls as is made clear in the New Testament. My apologies to my Catholic friends for speaking so frankly.

  • Really? That doesn’t sound very “lawful and non-violent” to me, Ms. Daily!

    But that’s okay, because the Democrat extremist “Frau Hillary” has already been brought to — how do the German folks say it? — oh yes, brought to “JUSTIZ” !!!

  • Here we go again with the “Supremacists” slander. What is a supremacist exactly. And can you name one?

  • It is critical that we reconcile with one another. Time for the pain of loss and fear to heal is first.

    I proudly voted for Sec. Clinton. I have a strong aversion to the president- elect and nearly all of his positions. Nonetheless, he will soon be my president because he won more than 270 electoral votes. That’s how American elections work. I think it’s a poor system, but it’s what we have. I will do what I can, short of compromising my principles, to help him succeed.

    I will do that because I am an American and do love my country. I will not try to sabotage him as republicans relentlessly did to President Obama and I will urge my Washington representatives not to. I will not put my personal agenda ahead of what is best for the country.

    I want America to succeed more than I want to get my way. I want America to be big, strong, open, kind and lead the world in the best way for each individual. I do not want an America shriveled, frightened, and closed to the world. I will support the president- elect whenever I can.

  • I think that in the end, though I am no particular fan of Trump, the president elect will set aside the overheated campaign rhetoric and make an effort to govern responsibly. Your reference to Hitler is clearly an expression of hyperbole which will not be fulfilled. “Whatever it takes,” is a rather worrisome expression to use.

  • With respect to violence, how are we to address the actions in several US cities subsequent to the election? I am not speaking of peaceful protests that have taken place at various points around the country, but the behavior of the protesters in Oakland and a few other places specifically speaks to the violent potential that comes from an unhappy Left. Violence is not the monopoly of any political philosophy and should never be countenanced, except with the possible exception of when a people or nation is being oppressed by military and police forces, a circumstance that we have rarely seen in this nation in general terms. Time will tell if Hitler “is not a stretch here.” If such a development occurred, which I think unlikely, I might be prepared to join you in your resistance.

  • But isn’t it a bit premature to begin plotting a response to what you think Mr. Trump might attempt. And how will such resistance play out? And in reaction to what provocation? In a civil society the best response is through the legitimate political action of citizens via organizing, lobbying, and legislation. The Congress is balanced enough to prevent anything you might fear from Mr. Trump, until such time as you suggest that his purported megalomania and charisma will create some sort of rise of the so called ultra-right. Right now civil unrest is roiling the streets of Portland, not thirty miles from me. Violent destruction of private property of their fellow citizens by those who are essentially throwing a temper tantrum because they did not get the election result they desired. And the ironic thing is that this rioting is occurring in a city that is one of the most “progressive” in the nation, and in a state where Mrs. Clinton won 7 electoral votes. That’s like pulling a burning roof down around your own ears.

  • Then I think, if I may, that you have misplaced your soul already in the sense that as a believer you owe a greater trust in the God you declare than you are demonstrating by putting what you perceive with your eyes and ears above the capacities of a sovereign God whose arm is not foreshortened by the deeds of men. This is not meant to insult you, but rather as a gentle admonition from one believer to another.

  • And yet you seem unduly fearful of the immediate future. At least that is my modest impression. Peace.

  • I visited the site you linked and have no disagreement with what the pope declared. But I am also called to pray for those in positions of power and wealth in the hopes that they will be converted from the empty riches of this present world. My (prayer) basket is big enough to hold everyone, including the deplorables. For I am not without sin, and can therefore cast no stones, at least not on the basis that because of my belief and faith I am somehow morally superior to the deceived and unseeing fellow creatures who have not yet discovered the power of the Gospel of Jesus.

  • Absolutely there are views which I find problematic, but I’m not going to couch my response in fear or despair. Solomon declared after much experience, that “There is nothing new under the sun.” I simply don’t share your concern about the potential for an extremist Trump administration. I’ve no doubt that there will be enough Congressional and Judicial resistance to thwart anything that he might “potentially” do to compromise any citizens’ liberties. Nor will the bulk of the American people embrace an extremist agenda with regard to some ill-advised “white nationalist” philosophy. Most Americans have accepted, if they have not welcomed gay marriage. More and more Americans have religiously and ethnically mixed families. Most folks who voted for Mr. Trump did not vote for him because of an adherence to “white nationalism,” but rather because they were worried and disturbed about the present state of the economy, and certain policies of the past administration.