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Is it spiritually ethical to pray for your political candidate to win the election? Edward Viljoen, author of Ordinary Goodness

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When I was a little boy my father would take me to boxing matches. I did not enjoy them, but I enjoyed being with my dad. So, I would watch everything except the fighting. I would look at the people in the audience, the trainers, the referee, the pre-fight posturing. It was fascinating.

The most interesting of all of it to me was how the boxers would pray before the match. I asked someone in my family what the boxers were praying for. The question started a minor but heated argument. One family member said each boxer was praying to win, another said each boxer was praying for the safety of the opponent, and yet another said the boxers were praying that the best boxer win.

Obliterate my Opponent?

That last answer stayed with me. It is the answer I like the most. I like it in this form: pray for the highest outcome for all concerned. I like it better than praying to obliterate my opponent. I like it better than praying that my violent game somehow result in safety.

Post-Match Violence

At the end of these boxing matches, in the poor suburbs of Johannesburg in the late 60s, there was sometimes more violence in the audience than there had been on the stage. Bitter disappointment among the fans of the losing boxer, mixed with taunts from the fans of the winning boxer, exploded into pushing, shoving, and cussing, and then violence. My dad would pick me up, hold me tightly, and push through the crowds to the safety of open spaces and the brisk walk home. I could not understand why he loved it so. When we got home, it was tough for me to get to sleep. I could not understand how the people there could mean the things they said as they cried out during the boxing and then again in the brawls afterward.

Frustration and Pain

People were hurting, someone told me, long before they went to those boxing matches, hurting and frustrated and in pain. I have been thinking about that, and our election, and how half of our nation is going to be in pain and the other half in relief likely, whoever wins. I am imagining the bitter disappointment mixing with taunts of the fans of the winning candidate, and I am thinking of the prayer for the highest good for all concerned, and the prayer for safety for all our people.

On Tuesday, November 8, from 9 am to 6 pm; you are invited to join in spiritual community for prayer on Election Day. Drop in or spend the day with us in prayer and contemplation of the highest good for our United States of America. Professional Prayer Practitioners will be on hand and affirmative prayer will be given every half hour. Silence will be observed between prayers. This prayer vigil will take place in the new Richard Leo Meditation Chapel upstairs. And if you cannot join us physically, you can join us from wherever you are by taking time on November 8 to be still and contemplate the highest good for all.

Edward Viljoen


  1. thank you for your insight. I loved how you connected sports analogies that we've all heard to spiritual truth. Truly an inspiring and clarifying article.

  2. Well stated, and my prayer too.

  3. Well said Edward and interesting family story. Thanks for sharing. Love Peace Light


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