So, we’re in that weird month of November – the month where we prepare for the events of the following month, debating whether it’s too early to put up Christmas decorations, dust off the Christmas playlist or buy a turkey (or nut roast).

As you all know, and to some people’s dismay, we also have a General Election to prepare for. I know, very odd timing, right? During a recent episode of BBC’s Question Time, one member of the audience stressed before a panel of MPs and journalists that she’d much rather be out buying gifts than getting ready to vote. 

But, as our Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushes for a Conservative Party majority ahead of further Brexit negotiations, and people all around start gearing up for their Christmas celebrations and a trip to the polls, I’ve begun to reflect on the importance of preparation. 

In secondary school, my headteacher used to bellow out daily at our morning assembly: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail!” At the time, these words, rightly or wrongly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, didn’t really resonate with me. But as the years have passed by, I have come to realise that they carry much truth. 

God’s word stresses, both directly and indirectly, the importance of preparation. Writing to the church in Philippi from prison, Paul prays for the saints, that they will grow in love, knowledge and perfect judgment, so that they will be free from all impurity and blame on the Day of Christ. Here, the apostle points to the spiritual prep’ that ought to take place during one’s life.

Flick back in your Bible to the gospel of Matthew and you’ll note that Jesus does the same. He shares the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. You know the story: each of the 10 bridesmaids is carrying a lamp as they wait for the bridegroom. Five are wise and have brought oil for their lamps, while five are foolish and have only brought their lamps. As they were prepared, the wise bridesmaids were able to accompany the bridegroom to the celebration; the others, ill-prepared, were excluded.

As a youth leader, I’ve found that the extent to which I am prepared can have a negative or positive affect on the children and young adults I lead. I’ve noticed this in my home life too: when I cook for family members, if I season and marinade the meat the day before, the end result is much better than if I hadn’t. You see, a lack of preparation doesn’t just affect you; it can have an impact on the people around you.

Thinking about Brexit, it may seem as though a lack of preparation has plagued politics concerning this issue since the referendum in 2016. And, I reluctantly say, this may well be so. Thankfully, we have a God who is always in control, and is always well prepared! 1 Chronicles 29:11 says:Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

But, this does not mean we do nothing, leaving our good, gracious, mighty God to exercise His authority as we shop for Christmas. No, not at all, for we are co-workers in God’s service (1 Corinthians 3:9). So, let’s prepare for the General Election – pray, intercede, hold a hustings event, and anything else that could facilitate our heavenly Father as He seeks to see His will come to pass in our country. To help you prepare, we have launched a General Election 2019 resource, complete with a blog, devotionals, prayer diary and more. 

Photo by Marten Bjork.