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FIRST-PERSON: Make election season a season of prayer

EDITOR’S NOTE: This first-person is part of a series of first-persons Baptist Press will publish in anticipation of the 40/40 Prayer Vigil for Spiritual Revival and National Renewal. The 40/40 Prayer Vigil is an initiative of the North American Mission Board and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to encourage Southern Baptists and other evangelicals to pray for 40 days from Sept. 26 to Nov. 4. To learn more, visit www.4040prayer.com.

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — If you are like me, sometimes it is a little difficult to keep a good attitude during presidential election season. I know I have a duty as a citizen and as a believer to participate in the process by exercising my right to vote. And I know I need to educate myself about the positions each candidate holds and vote for the one who will best reflect godly values once in office.

But at the same time, my attitude can’t help but be clouded by past disappointments and the reality that it seems like even the best leaders let us down. And doesn’t it also seem that just when we take a step forward in the public square, something else happens that sets us back two steps?

But then I realize that all the shortcomings of our leaders and our political process are exactly why Christians need to be engaged and involved. Our anchor holds to something much more solid than a candidate or a party platform or a president. As with all of our institutions, we shouldn’t be surprised when people fail us or outcomes disappoint. But we should always hold these to a higher standard.

Democracy is not perfect, but I believe it is the best way God has given man to govern on earth. The failures of our process and our leaders should only remind us that we cannot put our ultimate faith in that process.

The North American Mission Board is privileged once again to partner with our friends at the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention to promote the 40/40 Prayer Vigil. I hope you and your church will take this challenge to heart and commit to praying for our nation, our leaders and for our own personal revival and renewal.

Most of all, I believe as Southern Baptists that we need to humbly ask God to break our hearts for those in North America and throughout the world who do not know Him. We know that Jesus is in the business of changing lives and bringing hope to hopeless situations.

Are you seeing some situations in our nation today that look hopeless? Let’s introduce more of our neighbors and friends to the One who will bring hope. When hearts are changed, the direction of our cities and states and our nation will change.

I am moved and inspired by those pastors and evangelists from our nation’s early years who faced great odds and confronted rampant immorality, yet saw God work in remarkable ways. Jonathan Edwards, describing the impact of Jesus in the lives of people in one New England town, said there was such a transformation that the entire town “seemed to be full of the presence of God.”

Imagine if a similar trend swept our nation today. Let’s make that our prayer.
Kevin Ezell is president of the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Kevin Ezell