Prayer #40: Select. Protect. Elect.

How fitting that my 40th prayer -- the goal set in Feb. 2007 as a Lenten exercise -- should happen (finally) on the eve of an historic election (also finally). I can think of no better way to celebrate the end of one journey, and the start of another.

Prayer #40: Select. Protect. Elect.

Beyond race. Beyond gender. Beyond war. Beyond honor. But beyond hope?

Long before it became a campaign linchpin and buzzword, hope was a proud American quality that kept the wind at our backs and the lift in our step. It did not belong to any party or candidate. Quite the opposite -- the American people had sole ownership and control. It was ours.

Yet hope has taken quite a beating in the past several years, and the situation is bleak. No matter who is elected, he will have an arduous fight ahead of him to restore our trust and faith. Is he up to the task? And are we up to the task of demanding the best of him?

Either way, the first step is following our conscience and casting a ballot that reflects our gut -- the synthesis of heart, mind, faith. Broadcast that voice to us on Election Day, Lord, and grant us the conviction to do not what is right or wrong, but what is best.

We are blessed to live in a peaceful, democratic country where power is transitioned without bloodshed, and even losing parties have a recurring chance to come out on top. May we be reminded of that redemption -- and of yours -- when we complete this cycle once again ... and be with us no matter the outcome.