Tuesday, 13 June 2017

How To Pray During Elections by Rosemary Johnson

Polling Station Sign

I’m writing this four days after the General Election.  In the days and weeks before, things get political and heated.  On Facebook, people complain of other Facebook users using social media for 'party politics', especially when the 'party politics' concerned are from 'the other party’. Posting on Facebook is different from speaking face-to-face, in that we don't really know our 'friends' or their opinions.  Typical was a Facebook ‘friend’ of mine (not an ACW member) who claimed that all her Facebook friends were 'left-leaning, intelligent, arty types'.  Really?

Instinctively, as Christians we want to pray about elections, but how should we go about it?  I have my political opinions but it’s not right for me to pray for ‘my’ party to win, in the same manner as those footballers, generally Latin American footballers, who make the sign of the cross as they emerge from the tunnel.  No, God does not support your team. It’s just a game.  There are times when it’s right to pray in politics, for instance in World War 2, when people crammed into churches to pray for victory against the Nazis.  I'm writing a novel about Solidarnosc and I’ve no problem about Lech Walesa and the Shipyard strikers holding masses to pray for their safety in their fight against a Communist government.  Is it then a question of degree?  Is it ok to pray when your enemy is sufficiently bad? We all, I'm sure, pray for the people suffering under Isis and Isil, in Raqqa and elsewhere.  

We in the UK live in a democracy, nothing comparable to Raqqa, or to Poland in 1980.  Even if the voters elected the ‘wrong’ party, we will carry on living more or less as we are, albeit, perhaps, with a few inconvenient changes, and there will be another election in five years’ time. So, what do we pray for?

View of Interior of St Edmondsbury Cathedral
Inside St Edmondsbury Cathedral
I'm an Anglican. I take comfort in the wording of the Intercessions for the Eucharist.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

That is what we do.  As well as HMQ, we pray for all politicians, those we agree with and those we don’t.  Every day, I pray for Theresa May, our Prime Minister, for Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition and all the others.  I’ve prayed for the outcome of the election, that Thy Will Be Done.  If I'm honest, Thy Will, at this moment in time, looks a bit vague, but (another Anglicanism) God works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform

Excerpt from Book of Common Prayer
Excerpt from Book of Common Prayer
On Sunday, we attended a service at St Edmondsbury Cathedral, Mattins, old Prayer Book stuff.  The Book of Common Prayer, even these days, is full of wisdom.  This is where my page fell open: 

None of this is about writing – sorry!

Rosemary Johnson has had many short stories published, in print and online, amongst other places, in Alfie Dog Fiction, The Copperfield Review, Circa and Every Day Fiction.  In real life, she is a part-time IT tutor, living in Suffolk with her husband and cat.  Her cat supports her writing by sitting on her keyboard and deleting large portions of text.

1 comment:

  1. I think that Anglican prayer is beautiful! Food for thought. Thank you, Rosemary.