Don't be afraid to vote

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

As the candidates in the US presidential, congressional, and local elections make their final appeals to voters, the balance now shifts to the citizens and the need to make a choice. Ironically, sometimes this is the very moment when resistance to voting seems strongest. Perhaps you feel that your favorite candidate locally or nationally is a sure winner even without your vote. Or that there's no point in voting because he or she is trailing. Lack of time, or indifference toward the candidates, can be other factors.

Each of these arguments against voting is actually a temptation to reject one's individual power to contribute to the welfare of the nation – and to accept the belief that one is powerless to do good ("my vote won't count").

The writer of the First Epistle to Timothy offers a very different perspective: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (2:1, 2).

It's an interesting statement in light of the fact that early Christians were often imprisoned or severely punished by local rulers because of their faith. And this writer, who surely knew that, recommended prayer as the answer. That response can work today also.

Prayer can address several aspects of the election that have come into sharper focus in the last few days. One is fear – fear that people will be kept from voting because equipment is inferior at the polls, voter registration lists are inaccurate, or in some way their vote will be lost. Others support one candidate so strongly that they fear for the country if the other one wins. The Psalmist offers this help: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust" (56:3, 4). If we put our trust in God, and not in a particular person, no matter how able he or she may be, we will be on solid ground.

God's guidance is available now, and always will be available, to our leaders – local or national. And in our prayers we can declare our own willingness to trust God's government of our hearts and lives. Recognizing God's love for each of us and acknowledging His presence in times of fear or doubt can bring comfort.

As the source of all true law, divine Principle supports justice and judgment, and it also halts dishonesty, unfairness, and indifference. Under the government of divine Principle, harmony is natural, and everything that's needed for peace will be present. This may take the form of good advance planning so that equipment is in working order or that polling places are well staffed so that voters' needs can be dealt with in a timely and courteous way.

Even if the argument comes that we'd prefer none of the candidates in a race, the Bible's call for prayer for those in authority should move us to consider that stability in government is a blessing not just to one nation but to all. From that standpoint, prayer for the candidates and the voting that comes as a result of prayer helps shape the direction a nation will take – and ultimately how it will bless the world.

Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, speaking of God as Soul, wrote, "Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 60).

Each man or woman standing for local or national election has his or her own talents and spiritual gifts to bring to the table. In our prayers, we can support everyone's spirituality, their good and pure motives, and their desire to serve others. The rightness of God's, Soul's, government and its impartial provision for every sector of society is their protection from temptation, and it is ours also. Recognizing this is a good first step in experiencing the infinite resources of Soul, blessing the country and the world.

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