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Election prayers

By Mike Ruffin I’ve been praying for as long as I can remember. My parents taught me the bedtime prayer that begins, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.’ They also trained me to add an extra line before I said ‘Amen’: ‘God bless Mama and Daddy and everybody!’ Their addition of that petition struck me as a tad self-serving, but that was okay. I mean, I really did want God to bless Mama and Daddy and everybody. Mama and Daddy are gone now, but I still ask God to bless everybody’s who’s left. Several years ago, I began writing a prayer as part of my daily devotional regimen. You can find the daily prayer (if you’re interested) on my Prayer 365 blog (if you Google ‘Prayer 365,’ it’ll be the first page to come up). Sometimes I write a series of prayers focusing on the same topic. I wrote three such prayers about the recent presidential election. I wrote this prayer on the day before the election: O God, tomorrow we will complete the process of electing the next President of the United States. Many of us have already voted; many more of us will vote tomorrow. Help everything go as smoothly as possible. Thank you for the privilege of participating in the process of choosing our leaders. Thank you for all the officials and volunteers who work at the polls and behind the scenes. Bless our nation. Help us grow toward better living up to our ideals. Help us even grow toward better living up to your ideals. Amen. I wrote this prayer on the day of the election: O God, it’s Election Day here in the United States of America. All over our nation, people are casting their votes for President, for other offices, and on various amendments and referenda. First, let there be safety, peace, and order. Second, let the outcomes move us toward being a better people who live in true community. Third, as we come together to cast our differing votes, bind us together in our common love for our country. Amen. And I wrote this prayer on the day after the election: O God, help those who have been elected to lead our nation. Let their leadership be motivated by grace, love, and hope. Help all of us join together to work toward having the best nation we can have. Let our citizenship be motivated by kindness, mercy, and love. Amen. Now that we’re a week past the election, I’d like to offer another prayer, just for you, the readers of this column and residents of my beloved hometown and county: O God, even as we claim the hope of E pluribus unum (‘Out of many, one’), we recognize how difficult it is for so many people with such different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to live in harmony. Please give us grace to do so. Especially give us grace to try to see things as others see them. Give us love that causes us to put others before self. Give us hope that leads us to work together for the common good. Give us courage to speak and stand for what is right. Help us see others first as human beings who are all made and loved by you, and second as Americans who are all in this great experiment together. Help all of us care about all of us. Amen. I hope you’ll pray with me. Mike Ruffin is the author of the prayer collection Prayer 365, the sermon collection The Limp Is Mightier than the Strut (and Other Sermons), and Luke: Parables for the Journey. His most recent book is Fifty-Seven: A Memoir of Death and Life.

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