As the expected candidates for the presidency of the United States prepare for their parties' respective political conventions, each of us can also play an active role. While we can't outline all the twists and turns that the conventions may take, there are a few basic details that deserve our prayers – for their sake and for ours.
Safety. In these times when political violence is on almost everyone's radar screen, prayer for everyone's safety is a necessity. The book of Proverbs speaks of the importance of wisdom and discretion, saying that these qualities "[shall] be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble" (3:22, 23).
We can pray that everyone involved with security for the conventions will embrace wisdom and discretion as part of their safety tool kit. No distraction, hesitation, or feeling that someone is too important (or unimportant) to be checked can enter their thoughts. And we can pray that people who aren't on the security team not be tempted to be careless or disrespectful of the safety process. All can express wisdom because each one is spiritual and responds to the directions of their Father-Mother God.
Peace. It's a given that political conventions can be rowdy and boisterous – for some it's part of the fun of politics. But violence, anger, bitterness, revenge, would harm the mental atmosphere instead of uplift it. In this statement, Mary Baker Eddy cited a number of elements that would destroy peace and brotherhood: "Self-ignorance, self-will, self-righteousness, lust, covetousness, envy, revenge, are foes to grace, peace, and progress; they must be met manfully and overcome, or they will uproot all happiness" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 118). To resist such pressures may take great spiritual strength. And our prayers can support those efforts by affirming that God's creation can't be victimized by destructive passions. Nor can malice and lies be given a part in this important activity. These negative aspects are no part of the man God created in His image and likeness, and they have no place in the political process. Each individual can respond to the voice of divine Love, instead of yielding to some aspect of hate.
Our prayers to see Love at work in both conventions can help everyone bring their best thoughts to bear on the challenges ahead and be ready to support the candidates with courage and kindness. No old festering hatreds or grudges need lurk in the background, waiting for an opportunity to harm. Grace and peace can be a balm on old political wounds and can bring people together in love and goodwill. Past slights and mistakes can be put aside so that the great goal of serving the citizens can be primary in thought.
Inspiration. In these economic times, people are looking toward the candidates for inspiration and solid ideas about what direction the country should take. Our prayers can affirm that nothing can deprive the candidates of the energy and strength to present their goals with clarity and honesty. No fear, illness, accident, confusion, or distraction can prevent them from gaining and expressing their vision. Nor can negative "reviews" later diminish the candidates' vision before the citizens.
While each one's message will stand on its own merits, we need not allow destructive opinions or malice to darken the light in those messages. The book of Job declares, "There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (32:8). Genuine inspiration has its roots in God, divine Mind, and to whatever degree the candidates capture it in their speeches and demeanor, everyone who attends, and those who watch the convention, will be uplifted.
Postconvention prayer. Running for any public office can be an exercise in endurance, demanding that candidates draw on their deepest strengths in order to campaign effectively. No matter which candidate seems best to any one of us, we can pray for the safety, clarity, and endurance of both teams. Each of us can affirm that the one divine Mind, who loves all of us, will be a firm and intelligent guide for voters and candidates alike.