Lord, we are exhausted and spent. This election has been a long, hard slog.
We ask that you would grant our nation peace, hope, direction, recovery. That you would heal the anger, bitterness, animosity and hate that characterizes so many on all sides. That you would help all of us to move on together, charitably disagreeing but bound by a commitment to a more civil discourse—perhaps even those in Washington D.C.
We ask that you would inspire President Obama with renewed humility, vision, and discipline. Strengthen him and his family, fortify them for the next four years of what is sure to be a rocky road. Help him to strive to protect the innocent both at home and abroad, to seek to end wars and avoid violence wherever possible, and to work to strengthen the economy so that millions across the country (and world) might be able to work their way out of poverty.
Forgive us for the deceptive ads, the rhetoric, the endless bickering and the fact that $6 billion has been spent on this election when it could have been spent to help real people with real problems. Forgive us for obsessing so much about one election, or, on the other extreme, for being so cynical and apathetic about it. Help us to recognize politics as an important, valid process of change, even when it seems so pointless and frustrating.
Help us to put everything in perspective. May we recognize that the U.S. President is just a man, a failure and screwed-up sinner just like any of us. That the United States is just a country, one of many on earth, not the hope for the earth or a messianic institution in any sense of the word.
May we shift our attention, as we always should, to you and your majestic work in the world—humbly desiring your kingdom and seeking to serve it in whatever way we can.
Help your people—the worldwide church—to forge a unity and common objective that transcends nationalism and politics. Help American Christians especially to find their identity first and foremost in you, not in their political affiliations. Help the church to work as one body, your body, to proclaim the Good News through word and deed to a world that is fractured, weather-battered, war-weary, and without a center of stabilizing gravity or hope.
Help Christians to be the bearers of hope, encouragement, love and truth to everyone—to the suffering New Jersey homeowner who lost everything in Sandy, to the impoverished teenage girl unsure if she can afford to carry a pregnancy to term, to the Libyan terrorists and illegal aliens and looters and cheaters and liars we might otherwise despise.
Help us to examine ourselves daily and check our self-righteousness at the door, recognizing that we are as failed and broken as anyone, in need of redemption like all the rest.
Help us to wake up each day and, above all, be thankful. That we are still breathing, that we have things to strive for, love to give, and wonders to behold for at least one more day. Help us to recognize the unbelievable grace that overwhelms us in every moment: the grace of a heart that somehow keeps beating; the grace of lungs that miraculously keep breathing; the grace of making it down the highway without dying (in L.A. especially!) and turning on lights and appliances powered with electricity. The grace that is democracy—being able to vote.
Oh the things we take for granted!
Help us to remember that everything is a gift—that even our very life is a miracle, precious and put here for a reason. Guide each of us as we seek our place in this world, recognizing that we are but a part of a much bigger plan, a grain of sand in the William Blake sense: minute and yet majestic, revelatory even in our weakness of the complex universe to which we all belong.