“If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made not for the public good so much as for the selfish or local purposes.”  --Daniel Webster

 

What would our Founding Fathers think to hear that many Americans – Christians included – believe it an illegal blending of church and state to pray before voting for public officials? Samuel Adams was one of several Founding Fathers who believed it a sacred duty to do just that: “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote… that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

 

The very document that established the American government, including our right to vote, would have been impossible without prayer.

 

The Constitutional Convention
The scene was tense. Embittered Constitutional Convention delegates stormed out, taking with them all hope for equal state representation in the new government.

 

Discouraged eyes turned toward the senior delegate as Benjamin Franklin rose to speak. “God governs in the affairs of men,” he said, adding that without God, they could do no better job of building the United States of America than the builders of Babel. He suggested, and the remaining delegates agreed, that local pastors should pray for “the assistance of Heaven and its blessing on our deliberations.”

 

The weeks-long impasse broke within two days. State representation in the Senate would be equal, and state representation in the House would be based on population.

 

Are Prayer and Voting Compatible?
If prayer inspired the document that has stood as a global symbol of freedom for more than two centuries, does it stand to reason that the humble prayers of every American are necessary for the day-to-day understanding and implementation of the principles outlined in the Constitution, including the right to vote?

 

“Yes!” says John Lind, President/CEO of The Presidential Prayer Team (PPT), a grassroots network of 3 million participants who have committed to praying daily for the President, our nation and Armed Forces.

 

Launched September 18, 2001, only seven days after the 9/11 attacks, PPT updates its Website and emails its members weekly with prayer needs. These weekly updates feature the prayer needs for our national leaders and or nation, along with inspirational quotes from Founding Fathers, other patriots and the Bible. PPT also provides the popular American Inspirations one-minute radio program that airs on Christian stations around the country, updates their educational Presidential Prayer Team for Kids (PPK) site weekly and maintains an initiative called Adopt Our Troopstm to provide opportunities to pray for America’s armed forces. Over 100,000 people participated in their 2004 Pray the Votetm initiative, and the 2006 Pray the Vote campaign is now underway.

 

Deuteronomy 16:18 says that if we appoint, or vote into office, the public officials that the Lord has given us, those people will serve the people fairly,” said Lind. “We introduced Pray the Vote to remind Christians about their sacred duty not only to vote, but to seek God’s guidance before they do it.”

 

PPT’s Pray the Vote website at www.praythevote.org is full of information and resources to help people do just that. One tool is called 40 Days to Pray the Votetm. It is a collection of 40 daily prayers asking God to protect all aspects of the elections – candidates, media coverage, voter fraud, voting places, etc., which are intended to run September 28 through November 6, but Lind says you can jump in anywhere in between. There also will be an Online Prayer Rallytm on Election Eve, November 6.

 

40 Days to Pray the Votetm is available in various formats, including the organization’s online Prayer Experience, as a podcast, through text messages on cell phones, as downloadable 30-second PSAs for radio stations, and in an Individual Prayer Package that includes business-sized cards containing each daily prayer and a CD with all 40 in MP3 format.

 

“We’re committed to also providing resources for pastors to help rekindle our nation’s culture of patriotic prayer,” said Lind. “We’re offering a Group Prayer Package containing two sermons, an inspirational video, a prayer guide and various other tools for churches and other groups to use.” Go to www.presidentialprayerteam.org for details.

 

Does One Vote Count?
Rev. Billy Graham has said, "In a world that might say one vote doesn't matter..., it does matter because each person is of infinite worth and value to God... Your vote is a declaration of importance as a person and a citizen."

 

History proves the power of a single vote. One vote gave Thomas Jefferson the White House in 1801, admitted Texas to the Union in 1845 and gave leadership of the German Nazi Party to Hitler in 1923. In 1941, the Selective Service Act, the draft, was saved by one vote just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked. John F. Kennedy won the presidency by less than one vote per precinct, and George Bush was elected President in 2000 by the electoral votes of just one state.

 

“People need to vote informed,” reminded Lind. “Considering the impact on our nation and the world of every vote cast, voters need to take seriously the weight of their decisions. They should know the issues and the candidates, and, most importantly of all, they need to pray for God’s wisdom before voting. We need to rekindle our nation’s culture of prayer and back it up with action.”