Thirty-five years ago in Bern, Switzerland, President Immo Luschin von Ebengreuth taught us it was our sacred responsibility and opportunity to pray for the leaders of our country not only in our homes but in our congregations and temples. We are to pray to God to bless our national leaders wherever we are living. This was in the midst of the Cold War, and we were stationed in Germany with the US Army.
During this 2012 Presidential Election, when I have felt the weight of the issues debated more personally than ever before, this responsibility to pray for our leaders keeps coming to mind over and over.
President Luschin acknowledged that some forms of government may be more effective than others in securing peace, safety, and prosperity for their citizens, but he focused on the importance and duty of invoking the blessings of God upon the nations’ leaders to strengthen them in their heavy burdens of government.
Judy and I have children, other family members, and close friends all within our faith who feel strongly for either Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama. As a registered Democrat and previous office holder in our County’s Democratic Central Committee, I may be acquainted with more men and women who support President Obama’s election than most others who share my Mormon faith.
But beyond partisan politics, we each seek to elect men and women who are best able to govern this diverse and dynamic nation during confusing and clearly dangerous times. And we especially seek to honestly discern the strengths and hearts and relative merits of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. We not only want this discernment for ourselves but for all American voters.
The Presidential debates begin next Wednesday, October 3rd. And historically, it’s not unusual for political debates to significantly influence an election’s outcome. For that reason Judy and I have set aside this Sunday, September 30th as a day of fasting and prayer on behalf of both candidates and the American electorate. We pray that God will bless both President Obama and Mitt Romney to be able to present themselves at their very best and in such a way that voters can clearly discern which one would best serve the country at this time.
Recently we were greatly surprised to find ourselves voting for a candidate we had written off early in the campaign because of his politics. Sometimes the overriding question is not whether an individual‘s political views coincide with ours, but whether a candidate can actually manage the ship of state in rough seas. Can he govern this entire nation and keep us in one piece amid pounding and battering waves and gale force winds? In the end the discernment to know which candidate to vote for may only be available from God himself.