In a way every vote is a prayer. It's a desire that certain issues and candidates govern our land. This is true not only at election time but also during political conventions. It's during these conventions that issues are framed and their standard bearers selected.
The official delegates to the convention have their power to vote and, of course, to pray. While observers may not have the privilege to vote, they have the opportunity for prayer and the ever-present opportunity for exercising it.
Once I was invited to be an observer at a state convention of a national organization. At first, I was enchanted by all the positions and maneuverings taking place on the floor. The arguments were intelligently framed and the positions clearly stated.
But as midnight approached, the last issue to be decided was bogged down, and it looked as if the discussion would go on forever. I yearned for the decisiveness of divine will that I had experienced so many times when I had turned to God for guidance.
While I was thinking about all this, I heard, "You are there." The implication was that I was there to acknowledge God's government, including the events of that convention. I knew that since there is one God and that His-Her laws are universal, divine laws were supreme. I began to pray, realizing that it was possible, and in a way inevitable, for God to impel true motives and righteous actions.
A few minutes later, I was aroused from my prayer by applause. The last item on the agenda had been resolved, and the chairperson entertained a motion to adjourn. I'm not saying that my prayer alone brought agreement, but I know that prayer contributes to an atmosphere of peace where fair solutions to even the most intractable problems can come to light.
I recall this incident frequently and especially every four years as the political conventions convene.
As people pray with true humility that thought be free from prophesying doom if their side doesn't prevail, we find a willingness to abide by what the majority has approved. Also we attain more intelligent perspectives as we follow the biblical injunctions to "judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24) and "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way" (Rom. 14:13). When we judge correctly, the person is not condemned though his or her policies may be.
I was delighted the other day to hear a relative, who has strong feelings regarding current issues, say he would vote for anyone who would forward those programs he supported without concern for party affiliation. While his or our counsel may not be sought by the delegates, freedom from mere partisanship in the electorate can be important.
While the business of conventions is often to influence, prayer that negative influences not prevail is particularly needed. Inaccurate figures, hidden agendas, untruthful arguments can be uncovered and counteracted as we cling to the fact that God is Truth and is present. Prayer often serves as a spotlight, exposing the spin of hypocrisy and destroying its influence.
The broad goals - freedom, security, prosperity - are the same for all delegates, even the same for all political parties. Their specificity and ways of accomplishing them vary considerably. With divinely guided action, clearly stated platforms that realistically can be adhered to can result. This gives the electorate clear choices, which allows democracy to flourish.
Prayer for all the national conventions makes each individual who is praying a helpful influence. As with prayer, so with voting, we must not neglect the opportunity. Every prayer counts.
Through divine Love
the right government is assimilated,
the way pointed out,
the process shortened,
and the joy of acquiescence consummated.
Mary Baker Eddy
(Founder of Christian Science)