I'm seeing postings on the web and am actually getting postcards and mailings from churches promoting church and community-wide prayer gatherings. Most of these are tagged with "Pray for the USA" or "Pray for Our Nation" and are focused on gathering the church to pray together prior to Election Day on November 8.
Those gatherings are good, so I'm not throwing shade upon the churches or organizers. However, to gather solely for politically-flavored prayer may reveal more than is sought.
We, too have scheduled a time of corporate prayer for this coming Sunday night. Yet, I must share some convictions about our gathering and some things we are NOT doing.
We are seeking to have a solemn assembly Sunday evening as a church family. Sadly, I have felt led to schedule this prior, but have not, so now it appears to be just another "Pray for the Election" gathering.
Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.
Joel 1:14 (ESV)
It's a biblical principle to gather as the people of God for prayer.
Claude V. King shares this about solemn, or sacred assemblies:
Sacred assemblies were occasions for God's people collectively to worship Him, to repent of personal and corporate sin, to remember His special blessings on them, and to anticipate future blessings.
In a true sense, God may utilize the gathering of his church to ignite revival among his people.
For clarification - revival is an awakening and therefore, not the typical evangelistic meetings that have been termed "revivals" in American churches for decades. There's no special "pack a pew" night, or youth night with pizza, or a special guest bringing a word needed. While there may be a place for those types of gatherings, to call them revival is a misnomer.
You don't revive the dead.
You resurrect the dead.
You revive the sleeping.
That's what the church in our culture needs. That's what every true New Testament church needs - an awakening.
More Than Politics
If you're praying only because you're candidate of choice (if you even have one) may not win in November, you likely need to revisit your focus in prayer.
God has convicted me as a pastor that if we pray only as a "last resort" and slap 2 Chronicles 7:14 on everything we can just because the candidate of choice may not be elected, we are playing games.
However, we will gather and we will pray for our elected officials and potential leaders. To be clear, we should have been doing that all along. Yet, we will be praying for so much more.
We will pray that God will guide our people and that His will be done. This is how we should be praying continually.
We will pray for forgiveness, recognizing that forgiveness is not automatic.
There is a prerequisite for forgiveness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (ESV)
So, this Sunday evening at 7pm, we will gather, confess our sins to the Lord as his church, repent of overt and covert sins, and seek his forgiveness and guidance. To God be the glory.
We will rest in the assurance that regardless what happens on November 8 and beyond, God remains on his throne and sovereign over all.
Then, we will gather again as we must. May we never be the church that only prays every four years prior to an election.