Yesterday, with the formal announcement of Republican candidates Dr. Ben Carson and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorino, the New York Times published a helpful chart of who "is" running, who is "probably" running and who is "not" running for the presidency of the United States.
That's the easy part.
The hard part may be deciding who gets my vote?
Before we get to that---actually casting our vote---we will hear an endless process of speeches, debates, sound bites and smear campaigns from opponents over the next dozen and a half months.
Much will be done and said to influence you.
During this process, more than 100 million conservative Christians, evangelicals and Catholics will, hopefully, seek to be informed and will ask God's guidance, because this group will most likely determine the outcome of America's most important election in recent history.
Seeking God's guidance is not new to America or American politics.
Our Constitution was finally drafted as a result of a prayer meeting.
Some thoughts on the candidates and the process of deciding "who gets my vote?"
The New York Times article gives an overview at a glance of where we are regarding candidates as of today---who wants your vote.
Deciding who gets it can be more difficult.
Seeking biblical Christian wisdom is not new to this process in America.
Benjamin Franklin was not known to be particularly spiritual, however, it was Franklin who underscored the importance of God's guidance for political decisions in critical times.
America stands at a most critical time today.
It did on June 28, 1787 as well.
After days of heated disagreement in the attempt to birth a nation, Franklin addressed his colleagues in the Philadelphia Convention, which is sometimes called the Constitutional Convention.
He noted that after 4 or 5 weeks they had made small progress because they had "different sentiments on almost every question." He also noted that although they had studied the models of government from Rome to more modern European models of Republicanism, they were finding nothing "suitable to our circumstances."
He said, "We indeed seem to feel our own wont of political wisdom," defining their search for political answers as "groping as it were in the dark to find political truth."
He reminded his colleagues of how God had heard their prayers as they felt the pressing danger of Great Briton during the Revolutionary War, and asked if they had now "forgotten that powerful Friend" thinking "that we no longer need His assistance."
He looked America's leaders in the eye and said:
"I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth -- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall be become a reproach and a bye word down to future age. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest."
"I therefore beg leave to move -- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service."
The leaders went to daily prayer asking God's guidance in their deliberations. That tradition remains to this day in Congress.
A few weeks later, prayers were answered, the debate ended. The Constitution was framed. The final draft was done by hand in 2 days. It consists of 4,300 words, and continues to stand as one of a kind in world history.
It was signed on September 17, 1787.
Due to failing health, Benjamin Franklin needed assistance in signing the document that day.
As he left the convention hall that same day, the wife of the mayor of Philadelphia approached Franklin and asked, "What will our new government be?"
Franklin replied, "A republic, madam. If you can keep it."
We need godly wisdom and guidance "to keep it" in our times, as we choose America's new leader.
I am talking further about the process of discerning God's will on the radio today. You may join me from anywhere in the world, live at 9 AM PDT or rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT. Here's how.
Be Prayerful. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Blessed.