Twice in my lifetime, I've witnessed God's people shift an election through prayer. In the book of Daniel, we read, "It is heaven that rules. He sets over nations the lowliest of men."
The first occasion was during the days of President Richard Nixon. He was a Republican and he was corrupt. Despite winning a second term in a landslide, Nixon allowed his party henchmen (Haldeman, Colson, Erlichman) to arrange a break-in at the Democrat headquarters. Movies and books have been written about this crime. They were caught and spent time in prison. During Nixon's administration, his vice-president, Spiro Agnew, was caught taking bribes. He resigned and went to prison. Gerald Ford took Agnew's place. Later, Nixon resigned, thus elevating Ford.
How did prayer affect this unusual chain of events? During that era, there was a prayer movement called Intercessors for America -- IFA. They rallied Christians in all kinds of churches to gather in prayer events, prayer concerts and prayer vigils, praying for righteousness to return to America's government. There were bumper stickers, "I pray daily for my government." I had one on my car. I remember specifically praying for God to weed out corruption in high places.
The Watergate hearings on TV mesmerized the nation. It was unbelievable -- the arrogance, the injustice, and the attempts to hide it. But it all came out. Justice was done. We cleaned house, starting at the top. The end of the matter was that Gerald Ford, a decent, respectable man, transparent to a fault, became President of the United States. He had never been elected to either post. Prayers shifted things in a way that no movie plot could have dreamed of.
The second time prayer affected our election was during the contest between Al Gore and George Bush. I was with about a hundred intercessors at a church in Waco, Texas. We had assembled to ask the Lord to determine the outcome of the upcoming election, less than three weeks away. All the polls showed it was too close to call. Did the Lord want Bush or Gore?
At this prayer event, I was asked to intercede for George Bush. I did that privately in my hotel room before the evening session. That night, an amazing thing happened. We had a small music band playing on the stage. People were worshipping, waiting on the Lord, sitting or standing. The presence of the Lord -- his glory -- in the auditorium was becoming thick, tangible, weighty. One by one, the musicians slid to the floor. Everyone was still and silent. The senior pastor cast himself face down on the floor, saying "He's here! Take off your shoes!" Suddenly, the auditorium was filled with the heady aroma of strong heavenly incense. The leader had a vision of a headline, "Bush wins by a whisker!" Weeks later, Hanging chad and court battles over, Bush became president.
I know God isn't a Democrat. Nor is he a Republican. But the Lord favors some and dislikes others. For example, He chose David over Saul to rule ancient Israel. David was blessed and anointed by a prophet. Later the people chose David. A righteous man, with God's heart for the people, was prepared and became ruler over the nation.
Can the prayers of believers affect our government? I believe Christians can vote in heaven by praying. In America, we get to vote at the polls. As Christians, let's agree with God. Let's appeal to heaven. Let's pray, "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Don't naively let the wrong people grasp the reins of power.
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Ron Wood is a retired pastor and author. Contact him at [email protected] or visit www.touchedbygrace.org or follow him at Touched By Grace on Facebook. Opinions expressed are those of the author.