Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Evening Prayers: A Vigil on the Eve of a National Election

Evening Prayers:

A Vigil on the Eve of an Election

St. Richard’s Episcopal Church

Winter Park, Florida


It has long been the practice of the Church to pray for the nation-state and its leaders. The Episcopal Church since its inception has included prayers for its national leaders as a routine part of all of its liturgical services. Such practice recognizes that while we citizens of a democratic republic are ultimately responsible for our own self-governance, as in all things, we engage those duties ever in need of divine guidance. 

On Tuesday, November 3, our nation will once again engage our quadrennial electoral process in which officials from our President and Vice-President down to our local officials will be chosen. But unlike in other years, this election occurs in a context of unprecedented fear and confusion over what are seen as high-stakes outcomes.

We have become a deeply divided people, prone to see those who do not share our views as enemies. In the process, the image of G-d our countrymen and women bear has become increasingly difficult for us to recognize. We are more polarized as a nation than at any time since the Civil War. Indeed, our nation itself appears to be nearing the edge of an existential precipice beyond which there may be no return.

If there has ever been a time when G-d’s guidance has been needed, it is now. And so we come to this Vigil on the Eve of an Election to ask for clarity in seeing the issues that confront us, for forbearance in our dealings with those with whom we disagree, for divine wisdom to know the right decisions to make, and for strength and courage to engage that course of action.

This night we humbly beseech the G_d we have long believed to have blessed and preserved us to be present with us in our time of trial. This night we humbly pray that G-d will once again bless America.



Opening Acclamation

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not fail. Psalm 16:7, 8



Let us confess our sins against God, our neighbors and ourselves.

Silence may be kept.

Officiant and People together

Most merciful God,

we confess that we have sinned against you

in thought, word, and deed,

by what we have done,

and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;

we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in your will,

and walk in your ways,

to the glory of your Name. Amen.



God forgives you [+]

Forgive others;

forgive yourself.

Be at Peace. AMEN.

[New Zealand Prayerbook]


Psalm 145, Exaltabo te, Deus

1 I will extol you, my God and King,

   and bless your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will bless you,

   and praise your name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;

   his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall laud your works to another,

   and shall declare your mighty acts.

5 On the glorious splendour of your majesty,

   and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

6 The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,

   and I will declare your greatness.

7 They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,

   and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,

   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

9 The Lord is good to all,

   and his compassion is over all that he has made.

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,

   and all your faithful shall bless you.

11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,

   and tell of your power,

12 to make known to all people your* mighty deeds,

   and the glorious splendour of your* kingdom.

13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

   and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all his words,

   and gracious in all his deeds.*

14 The Lord upholds all who are falling,

   and raises up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to you,

   and you give them their food in due season.

16 You open your hand,

   satisfying the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is just in all his ways,

   and kind in all his doings.

18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,

   to all who call on him in truth.

19 He fulfils the desire of all who fear him;

   he also hears their cry, and saves them.

20 The Lord watches over all who love him,

   but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,

   and all flesh will bless his holy name for ever and ever.


At the end of the Psalms is sung or said

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *

as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


The Lessons

Deuteronomy 10

17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, 18 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing. 19 You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 20 You shall fear the Lord your God; him alone you shall worship; to him you shall hold fast, and by his name you shall swear. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things that your own eyes have seen.

After the Lesson the Reader will say

Here ends the Reading.


The Response


The Song of Mary    Magnificat

Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *

    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: *

    the Almighty has done great things for me,

    and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him *

    in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *

    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *

    and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *

    and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *

    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers, *

    to Abraham and his children for ever.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *

    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


Matthew 5

43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


After the Lesson the Reader will say

Here ends the Reading.


The Response

The Song of Simeon    Nunc Dimittis

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, you now have set your servant free *

    to go in peace as you have promised;

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *

    whom you have prepared for all the world to see:

A Light to enlighten the nations, *

    and the glory of your people Israel.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *

    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


 The Prayers

 Jesus said, when you pray, say these words:

 Our Father, who art in heaven,

    hallowed be thy Name,

    thy kingdom come,

    thy will be done,

        on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

    as we forgive those

        who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

    but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

    and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.


A Litany for a National Election


Loving God, creator of this world who is the source of our wisdom and understanding, watch over this nation during this time of election. Help us to see how our faith informs our principles and actions.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


We give thanks for the right to vote. Help us to hold this privilege and responsibility with the care and awareness it merits, realizing that our vote matters and that it is an act of faith.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


Guide us through this election as a nation, state, and community as we vote for people to do work on our behalf and on the behalf of our communities. Help us to vote for people and ballot initiatives that will better our community and our world so it may reflect the values Christ taught us.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


Help us create communities that will build your kingdom here on earth – communities that will protect the poor, stand up for the vulnerable, advocate for those who are not seen and heard, and listen to everyone’s voice.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


We pray for this nation that is deeply divided. May we come together for the common good and do as you have called us to do – to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you through creation.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


Help us act out of love, mercy and justice rather than out of ignorance, arrogance or fear.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


Lord, continue to guide us as we work for the welfare of this world. We pray for places that are torn by violence, that they may know peace.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


We pray for communities who are struggling with inequality, unrest, and fear. May we all work toward reconciliation with one another and with God.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


Help us to listen in love, work together in peace, and collaborate with one another as we seek the betterment of our community and world.

Intercessor: God, our creator,

People: Guide us in truth and love.


[Source: Rev. Shannon Kelly, Episcopal Church Director of Faith Formation and Officer for Young Adult and Campus Ministries]


Collect For an Election (BCP pg. 822)

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Collect For the Nation (BCP pg. 207)

Lord God Almighty, who has made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Collect for Social Justice (BCP pg. 823)

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Closing Prayers


A Prayer For our Country (BCP pg. 820, revised)


O God, who has given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech you that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of your favor and glad to do your will.


Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes who come from many kindreds and tongues.


Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to your law, we may show forth your praise among the nations of the earth. In times of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in days of trouble, suffer not our trust in you to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Prayer of St. Chrysostom


Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of

your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.


Let us bless the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, [+]  the love of God, and

the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.

Amen.    2 Corinthians 13:14

[Image: Taken from Catholic Moral Theology site]  

[Lectionary taken from Lesser Feasts and Fasts, July 4, Independence Day] 

1 comment:

jas faulkner said...

Beautifully written and inclusive. Your church is lucky to have you.