Divine Mind’s government in elections
“Lord, you know what everyone is like! Show us the one you have chosen” (Acts 1:24, Contemporary English Version).
Christ Jesus’ disciples and followers, gathered together in prayer to choose a successor to the traitor Judas, appealed to divine guidance for help in the decision. Their simple prayer has meaning for me as I look ahead to national elections this year in the United States. Most of the time these days I’m feeling a little like those early Christians—“God, You’re going to have to help me make the right choice!”
Certainly His help is needed. How can we process all the details about the candidates’ qualifications, their goals and views on a wide range of issues, in order to come to what we feel is a right decision? Can we really believe the candidates’ promises and visions for the country? What do their past actions and decisions say about their respective abilities to fulfill elective office? Who is the best to serve, the best to lead? It can seem daunting to come to an informed conclusion, feel right about it, and then trust the outcome going forward after the election.
I’ve been listening in prayer for God’s direction, not only for help in making an appropriate decision but to know how best to support through prayer this whole election process. In doing so I’ve taken to heart what Mary Baker Eddy counseled about praying for the United States and those in government positions: “Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness” (Christian Science versus Pantheism, p. 14 ).
The spirit of this guidance can also be applied in our prayers for the electorate—and that includes political pundits, commentators, and reporters. We all can be guided and blessed by the right arm of God’s righteousness. We can pray for the wisdom to make decisions individually and collectively that will support the United States and its leaders as we go forward together.
Although I may have my own opinion about who should be the chief magistrate over the next four years, I also feel committed to pray for humility and direction—and to be open to a course correction if I need to make one. I’m one vote, but I don’t want to make my decision automatically or by rote. I want it to be a result of divine guidance.
I’m looking to God and His infinite wisdom—to the one Mind, the source of true consciousness and intelligent action—to guide my decision-making at election time. This is the same approach I took when called to serve on a jury in a domestic assault-and-battery case a few years ago. After hearing testimony from both sides of the case, including the defendant, the jurors were sent home and were told to return the next day to hear closing arguments.
I left the courtroom with my head spinning. How could I be sure the witnesses were telling the truth? The consequences would be so critical! So many conflicting stories—he said, she said. Whose account was accurate? Could I really trust any of the testimony given?
I spent a good deal of that evening in prayer in order to discern the truth about what really happened in this case. I affirmed that God, divine Truth, was the only truth-giver; that He was ever present and, through divine law, was giving to me and everyone involved the ability to discern what we needed to know in order to achieve a just result.
I earnestly prayed to see that this whole trial process was under the jurisdiction of the supreme Lawgiver, the one divine Mind, and that the jurors, the judge, and the attorneys were being guided and divinely influenced by that Mind. I yearned to feel God’s love manifesting itself in intelligence, wisdom, and right reasoning for all involved in the case.
This prayer opened my thought to feel the power behind Mrs. Eddy’s words, “The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 379 ).
We all can be guided and blessed by the right arm of God’s righteousness.
As the jury foreperson, with the responsibility to help facilitate the deliberation, I took the practical step that evening of making a list of every bit of evidence I could remember from the testimonies and reviewed why some of it rang true to me and some of it didn’t.
During this time of prayerful reasoning, some pertinent spiritual truths came to thought. I saw that no deception, dishonesty, or misdirection could interfere with the power of absolute Truth asserting its undeniable presence and authority. I realized that divine Truth would provide the clarity of thought and honesty we would need for a just decision to be reached in this case.
I continued to pray as I arrived at the courthouse the next morning, knowing that omnipotent Truth was asserting itself. When the judge called for the closing arguments, the defense attorney began by clarifying the confusing testimony presented the day before, covering exactly the same items that I had noted on my list. During our jury deliberation, the truth became evident to all of us, and we came expeditiously to a just and unanimous decision.
As I’ve been applying the lessons learned from my jury service to the political situation, I find my prayers focusing on being more vigilant to tune out the “noise” of fear and unrest—what I perceive as a mental contagion of reaction to the accusatory and critical tone surrounding the individual candidates. It’s clear that consenting to this aggressive contagion drags thought away from God, the one Mind and supreme Lawgiver.
So it’s important to remind ourselves regularly that God alone has authority and power. His thoughts—true, spiritual thoughts—counteract and destroy the erroneous thoughts that would shut out the harmony of His government. The Bible’s book of Jeremiah contains these reassuring words: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (29:11 ).
When we turn wholeheartedly in prayer to God, the supreme lawmaker and operative cause of all good, we come to realize that the ability to think rightly and to make right choices actually derives from our oneness with Him, our true and only Mind. Self-absorption, willfulness, mental manipulation, love of personality, lawlessness, a tendency toward anarchy, chaos—all these “thoughts … of evil,” which deny God’s power to govern our thinking and acting—have no actual capacity to affect us. They have no power over a clear perception of His omnipresent action.
Each of us can play a vital role in proving that evil thoughts cannot influence this election process. We can realize in prayer that the only true influence is the divine law of good; that in its presence confusion, discouragement, frustration, and hopelessness lose their supposed influence in human thought and disappear.
We can also trust that God, divine Love, has only “thoughts of peace” about His creation—is knowing only the well-being of His children—and this trust will surely result in a lessening of fear or anxiety in the casting and counting of ballots. We can realize that because Love is the only true Mind, and man is governed by that Mind, people can be guided to vote from the standpoint of their highest sense of right, and commit to support the outcome, no matter who gets elected.
Knowing that we’re subordinate to Love’s thoughts, we won’t be susceptible to the contagion of despair or to the belief that one vote doesn’t count, so what does it matter anyway? When we understandingly affirm that God is guiding the whole process, this will help ensure that voters, those overseeing the counting and sorting of ballots, and the reporters watching the exit polls and carrying the responsibility to monitor the outcome, will act confidently under divine Love’s control.
Through such prayerful support of our elections, each individual can play an important role in proving that every single detail of our national elections is subordinate to the supremacy of God—subordinate to Spirit’s energizing, transforming, freeing, tender, watchful care over all.