An election prayer

Election Prayer

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Lord Jesus Christ, You told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. Enlighten the minds of our people [in] America. May we choose a President of the United States, and other government officials, according to Your Divine Will. Give our citizens the courage to choose leaders of our nation who respect the sanctity of unborn human life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of marital relations, the sanctity of the family, and the sanctity of the aging. Grant us the wisdom to give You, what belongs to You, our God. If we do this, as a nation, we are confident You will give us an abundance of Your blessings through our elected leaders. Amen.

Composed by Father John Anthony Hardon, S.J.

Imprimatur: +Rene H. Gracida, Bishop of Corpus Christi, July 7, 1992
Published by Eternal Life in 1992

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  1. Virgil says:

    I guess this prayer is fine for private use. But in public prayer, I would count it as bad as any liturgical abuse done by the Lunatic Left.

    The petitions are so partisan one can taste it in the mouth as the words are uttered.

    How about “the sanctinty of all human life.” Do we elect leaders only to pretect the unborn?

    How about “the sanctity of all households.” Do we elect leaders to protect only those who are married with children?

    I prefer to bid my Lord to send blessings to all those who give their lives in service to our country as elected officials. May they be guided in wisdom.

    [So… since you have such insight into what a good prayer ought to be, why don’t you write one and post it here. Or you can send it to me by e-mail and I’ll post it.]

  2. Jordanes says:

    Virgil said: The petitions are so partisan one can taste it in the mouth as the words are uttered.

    Yes, and it was also “partisan” when the Church, in public prayer, asked God to deliver us from the Mongols, and prayed for the Christian Emperor.

    If that prayer is partisan (which it is not), it’s only because there is one major party in this country that is know for being committed to violation of the sanctity of unborn human life, the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of marital relations, the sanctity of the family, and the sanctity of the aging. But in fact the late Father Hardon’s prayer can with just a slight modification be prayed anywhere on earth where leaders are chosen through elections. It’s not a prayer for the election of

    I prefer to bid my Lord to send blessings to all those who give their lives in service to our country as elected officials.

    Then you cannot object to Father Hardon’s prayer.

  3. Copernicus says:

    Quite an introverted prayer, it seems to me; at least, it upholds ‘sanctity’ over ‘charity’. Shouldn’t American voters have some concern for Matthew 5:1-12, or Matthew 25:35-40? Without these, the prayer invites US electors to be Pharisees rather than publicans. [You should apply your skills now, after these comments, and write a prayer reflecting the proper priorities. Post it here for us to examine.]

  4. ckdexterhaven says:

    Thank you for posting this timely prayer, Father. I will add it to my daily prayer life. Thank you for reminding us a couple of weeks ago to pray to St. Michael the Archangel.

  5. Buffalo Bill says:

    Very nice prayer… Thanks for sharing…

  6. NOTE TO ALL: Sometimes I remove advertisements people post, without asking, even if they are very good causes.

    This blog isn’t just a free billboard for people to use. It is best to ask.

  7. Julie A. Sadowski says:

    Thank you so much for the prayer. This election is becoming more surreal by the moment. The following is an excerpt from an article in “The Tablet” emphasizing that 50 U.S. Bishops have publicly stated abortion is the most important issue with whom I adamantly agree. I am a truly “practicing Catholic” (not by the Knights of Columbus definition in their recent survey which only requires a once or twice a month attendance at a service), but a convert who for many years before converting clung to my secularism and “social justice” to rationalize and justify my behavior and beliefs. I know why lay people/general citizenry adhere to their misguided beliefs (not that I agree or believe that it is justified), but when clergy, who made the same conscientious decision I did (to some but much greater degree long before me in our life cycles) become so seemingly removed from their faith and the metaphysical reality of it, I am utterly bewildered. I love my faith not only because I know it to be the Truth but because there are those who I know because of their committment have a much more intimate relationship with our Lord than I. Because of this I depend on them to fulfill their “duties” that they have accepted (as they have also forgone so many comforts) so that they may lead me to a closer relationship with our Lord. When I hear and read of clergy who do not believe it is their duty to guide us and insinuate that what we know to be non-negotiale issues such as life are comparable to other issues which are only secondary and have no value without acknowledging the inherent, intrinsic value of life, I feel betrayed. Until we are willing to fight for the “one issue”, life, that which was created in His image and is reflected in every living being from zygote to convalecent or vegetative grandmother, then the other issues are only means of justifying our lack of committment to the real (and harder…at least for some…issue) because for many unfortunately, quality isn’t based on their relationship with God and the obligations that flow from that but with their relationship with the world and the benefits this grants them, which is reflected in the following excerpt:

    “But a growing group of clergy has sought to counter the abortion-dominant focus. Speaking to The Washington Post, Bishop Gabino Zavala, auxiliary in Los Angeles, said: “There are many other issues we need to bring up,” and listed “racism, torture, genocide, immigration, war and the impact of the economic downturn on the most vulnerable among us”.

    Bishop Zavala’s comments were echoed by Bishop Terry Steib of Memphis in Republican-dominated Tennessee, who wrote in his diocesan newspaper: “We cannot be a one-issue people.” He continued: “I have received letters from well-meaning people telling me for whom I should vote and how I should inform parishioners regarding the candidates for whom they should or should not cast their ballot … It is not my duty, nor is it my role.” The Tablet, October 25, 2008.

    When our clergy abdicate their duty to inform us of the truth it saddens me, not for myself but for those who believe them.

  8. Prof. Basto says:

    It would be better worded if it said:

    Lord Jesus Christ, Who told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God…

    It is very disturbing that modern prayers, and modern translations of prayers, tend to start out by telling God: “Lord, you said THAT, Now, do THIS”. It lacks elegance and reverence.

  9. Pastor Steve says:

    From a Lutheran Pastor, thank you for your life-centered prayer. I am using it as a congregational prayer this last Sunday before the election. [Thanks, Parson!]

  10. Copernicus says:

    God our Father,

    You govern all creation, and out of infinite love have set us over the whole world,
    To rule in your likeness and serve you, our creator.

    Give us the grace of your holy wisdom, to discern in humility and charity our future leaders.

    May we always choose life over death,
    Love over hatred,
    And giving over possessing.

    Give us rulers who will protect the vulnerable,
    Support the needy,
    Feed the hungry,
    Comfort the oppressed,
    And sow peace where in the world where they may.

    Above all, loving Father, may we cherish your gift of human life,
    Defending the unseen unborn,
    Guarding the weak and infirm,
    Honoring the elderly,
    And cherishing those whose lives are broken by war, tyranny, famine and sin.

    Give us, divine Ruler, men and women who will rule in your image,
    And help us, divine Judge, to choose them according to your will.

    We ask this through your Son Jesus Christ, the Ruler of all.

    [Pretty good! I am not quite sure what your “discern” our leaders is about at the top. Later you have “choose”, which I what you seem to mean by “discern” earlier. I hear “discern” as identifying properly those who are already leaders. Fr. Hardon’s prayer is stronger is its distinction of what is owed to God and to the state. You go in a different direction. Fr. Hardon’s prayer speaks of the “courage” actually to vote for what your prayers stresses, that is, what you know by wisdom is the correct choice. I think his emphasis is necessary right now. In your description of “unseen unborn” you are making a good contrast with the defenseless or weak whom we can easily see. However, there are ways now to “see” the unborn. Toward the end I would avoid anything which smacks of too close a connection between the one elected and God’s will. Perhaps others will have their observations, but all in all it is a decent respectable prayer. Good for you for pitching in!]

  11. Copernicus says:

    Thanks, Fr Z. There an ungainly repetition of “cherish” in there – perhaps the first one should be “revere” or “uphold”?

  12. Delp says:

    As a Non-Catholic Christian, I want to say thanks for standing up for Christ’s teachings. May all within Christ’s Body of Believers follow your example and not be bullied. It’s time to stand up for our Freedoms of Faith! Anger and slander toward the followers of Christ is expected!

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