The campaign cycle for president of the United States kicked off in earnest on Labor Day. It has been predicted to be the most invective and bitter in personal attack as any campaign in American history. So far, after one day, the prognosticators have not been disappointed.
The themes are set, and each candidate is doubling down. For Vice President Biden, the message is: President Trump's caustic personality. For President Trump, the message is: We must restore law and order, and Biden is partnering with, and sympathetic to, violent protesters.
Mail-in ballots now put the integrity of the election in question. Local election officials are not equipped or trained to compare signatures on ballots that have not been confirmed by a notary public or presented in person. Court challenges are likely.
The election outcome may not be known for weeks after Nov. 3. It depends on whether states require that ballots must be received by election day or just postmarked. In a normal election cycle, it is not unusual for a state to take 17 days after the election to count all the absentee ballots. Normally, outstanding ballots are not sufficient to overcome the vote counts of election day. The year 2020 may set a new standard.
A recent NBC poll found that 70% of Republicans intend to vote in person. Thirty percent indicate they will vote by absentee ballot. It is just the opposite for Democrats, 30% to 70% respectively. President Trump's vote totals will substantially be known election night. Vice President Biden's total vote totals may not be known for weeks. Hopefully, activists and supporters of both candidates will be patient until a final vote count is tabulated.
The country is a powder keg capable of exploding upon the simplest insecurity of perceived conspiracies.
In times of crisis, when the United States was in a situation where injurious elements were out of their control, elected and civic leaders prayed. Sometimes they sought God's counsel after they had tried every aspect of their own counsel. Members of the Continental Congress prayed. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention recessed to pray. Dwight D. Eisenhower prayed before D-Day. Martin Luther King Jr. prayed. George Washington, during the Revolutionary War, said that he was "driven to his knees" on more than one occasion because he had nowhere else to go.
Throughout history, our leaders have prayed for God's grace on our country. Today, how can we be any less humble?
I feel compelled to pray the following prayer for my country:
Father, I pray for the soul of America embodied in her spirit for freedom. In 1776, You gave us an ideal, a dream that was to be America. It started out as an aspiration. Then it became a hope. Then it became a belief manifested in reality. May we not lose confidence in its truth. As recriminations in the political process continue to exaggerate, may we not lose faith in the Great Commission or in the command to love thy neighbor as thyself. Soften our hearts. Harden our will toward benignity. Restrain us from judgment lest we be judged. Nurture the goodness within us. May the races see each other as one blood as mankind is one blood in You. Stabilize the economy. Help us to visualize the reforms necessary to pursue prosperity. Countenance us to serve the poor, the elderly and the disadvantaged. We pray for single mothers to be aided in all they need to support themselves and their children. Speak to our men and women in uniform and underlie their feelings that we are grateful for their service. As a country, may we show gratitude for classroom teachers, health care professionals, first responders and the police who lay down their lives for us every day.
Father, we pray for our children that they may return to school, be socially complete, nurtured in their growth and held harmless from anxiety. We pray for all elected leaders that they will never forget their oath of office, particularly to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America.
And last, Father, we pray for the elections to be held on time, to be finalized and authoritarian in their conclusion. And may all divisions of society accept the compromise of the ballot box to bring peace to our country, keeping civil strife from escalating into civil war.
Father, we repent from our sins. We turn our face toward You. We ask You to heal our country and lead us to be one in family, aligning with Your great purpose. Deliver us from fear. Lead us away from temporal selfishness. Driven to our knees we seek You in a prayer of last resort to save your country and grant to us Your grace.
Strengthen our resolve to protect the gift that started out as an aspiration and, today, is the dream that can be America.
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
This article originally appeared at marcnuttle.org.
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