In my college editorial-writing class, a fellow student wrote a piece extolling the virtues of voting a straight party line. This was the first I had heard of such voting. I had always assumed that people voted for the person and not the party.
Though I wasn't old enough to vote at the time, I thought a lot about the two different approaches to voting. I knew then, as I still do, that I wanted my vote to count.
One thing I've learned is that, as in all things, prayer has an important role in deciding our vote. I don't mean asking God whom to vote for in a particular election, but praying that voters and their elected officials be open to the highest wisdom; to its source, God.
The basis of my prayer is that God's "will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." I've found this line from the Lord's Prayer to be helpful in praying for my country. The spiritual sense of this line as interpreted in the Christian Science textbook is "Enable us to know, – as in heaven, so on earth, – God is omnipotent, supreme" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 17).
During election season I find it essential to recognize God as omnipotent and supreme in governing the issues, the candidates, and the electorate.
One election year I became increasingly disappointed with the candidate at the head of my party's ticket. I knew it was important that I continue to see the supremacy and omnipotence of God as governing our nation. I've come to see this approach as a "vote" for God's government. And it's the vote that really counts.
While the man I did not vote for won the election, I continued my prayers. I was able to recognize the good he was doing in some areas, especially in international relations, and the changes I had wanted to see at home were accomplished by the following administration. I learned that my "vote" for God's government – a renewed understanding that God is indeed governing all – is never wasted.
While it may not always be easy to value some elected officials, we cannot allow the criticism that is purely partisan and often destructive to govern our thinking. We can lift our thought above the strictly personal viewpoint.
In order to do this, I've found it useful to take time to recognize that we all are children of God. We are, in biblical terms, "the elect of God." And I don't know a better way to think of myself and others, including our elected officials, as following this guidance: "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another" (Col. 3:12, 13).
These spiritual qualities, which everyone may express, lift us above undue influence of political parties and mere charismatic personality. As this spiritual lifting occurs, the elected as well as the electorate will truly be the "elect of God" and reflect divine will leading to a just and wise government.
I exhort therefore,
that, first of all, supplications,
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.
I Timothy 2:1, 2