Christians urged to pray
for 40 days before election
By Allen Palmeri
August 31, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – It takes Phil Love, a member of Concord Baptist Church, Jefferson City, three hours to mow his lawn on his tractor, so he has plenty of time to think.
It was during this usual chore one day that an idea was brought to his conscience: modify a “40 Days of Prayer” emphasis before the Nov. 2 general election.
A national organization for prayer had been launched, www.40daysusa.org, patterned after the best-selling book by Rick Warren 40 Days of Purpose, but Love’s application was to come up with prayer topics for each day. He got off the lawnmower and wrote down 40 days of prayer ideas (see related box).
“I’ve always been real concerned with the upcoming elections, because I think this is a key and pivotal time for the country,” said Love, who works as a vice president of commercial banking for Union Planters Bank. “I think we have an opportunity to choose God’s blessing or God’s curse, and I felt the Lord talking to me that we need to have a concerted prayer effort in the church.
“The key to this election rises and falls with the church. I want to find a way to call every church in the entire country to prayer. It seemed like a pretty tall order, and I still don’t know how to accomplish everything. So I prayed about it and thought it would be an ideal thing to have different topics, and I sat down and wrote them.”
Recent decisions by Missouri voters to affirm traditional marriage and deny an expansion of casino gambling into the Branson area encouraged Love in his effort to promote similar results in November.
“The elections of Missouri really gave me a lot of hope,” he said. “There was a situation where we had two issues that people in the church were praying for, and we won both.
“The desired outcome is that we have people that we elect in offices all across the country, whether it’s local, state or federal, who are the people God wants in that place and are going to help pass laws that will help further the cause of Christ.”
On Sept. 24, the prayer initiative begins with a plea for the Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), to be added to the United States Constitution. The next day’s prayer is for judicial tyranny to stop. Nowhere does Love encourage Christians to pray for one presidential candidate over another. He simply calls on Christians to pray that God would give us the president we need, not the one we deserve.
“God can put leaders in office, and He has before in our history, who are a direct result of our own selfishness and sin,” Love said. “There are times when He can put leaders in office who are the ones that we really need. There’s a big difference between what we deserve and what we really need. We all deserve God’s judgment. We need His mercy.”
On the day of the election, Love is encouraging all Christians to pray that we get the leaders we need instead of those we deserve because of our sins. “Praise God that He can and will do this,” Love said.
This concentrated of season of prayer from Sept. 24 to Nov. 2 election can rightly be called, in biblical language, “a sacred assembly,” Love said. He said he would like to see the United States act more like the Old Testament nation of Israel in that there would be more cultivation of a healthy fear of God.
“We’re called to be good citizens,” he said. “In our country, that means not only praying for your leaders but also becoming involved, voting, and whatever God calls you to, doing it.
“My desire is that the culture changes so America can be more of a force for spreading the Gospel in the coming years than she has been in the past.”