Presidential Gaffe Emphasizes Need for Prayer
The fact that Gary Johnson didn’t attract enough supporters in leading polls to qualify for last week’s first presidential debate is a good indication that the Libertarian candidate isn’t going to win the forthcoming election.
It didn’t help matters any that a few weeks before, while being questioned on a national TV program about the situation in Syria and what he do would about Aleppo, he asked, “What’s Aleppo?”
It was a “deer in the headlights” moment, one that reminded me of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 flub. During the Republican primaries, Perry named two federal agencies he would eliminate as president, then blanked out as he tried to recall the name of the third. Soon after, amid harsh criticism of the miscue, he withdrew from the race.
Our Human Leaders
Soon after his Aleppo remark, Johnson went on The View, where he discussed it. Though contending it shouldn’t disqualify him from consideration, he didn’t necessarily convince the hosts.
As always, voters will have the final say. I’m not here to pillory the former New Mexico governor or argue that no one should consider him. Instead, there is another significant issue at play that seldom gets mentioned: no matter how high the political office, government agency, or corporation, we are still choosing humans for the task.
There is a reason Paul urged that “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV).
In other words, the apostle knew our leaders would need divine guidance. We are so used to criticizing people in life’s limelight that we often overlook the enormous responsibilities and pressures they live with. Most of us would quickly wilt under the strain.
We shouldn’t be surprised when people expose their frailties in an era when cameras line every street corner, often exposing our human flaws. After all, if George Washington—who owned slaves and used a considerable quantity of whiskey to buy a seat in Virginia’s House of Burgesses in pre-presidential days—were alive today, he would be just another politician.
Benefits of Intercession
There is another issue that deserves mention, which came to mind when our pastor mentioned a story he had shared previously.
Recalling the days when he used to get caught up in political controversy, he mentioned how one day in prayer, God impressed this message on his heart: “If the church had prayed for President Clinton as much as they criticized him, Monica Lewinsky might not have even happened.”
A good point. No matter which side of the political aisle a church falls on—and even if it maintains a stance of neutrality—members should be praying for leaders at the city, state and national levels, regardless of party.
In a day when we face serious financial struggles and terrorists who would love to bring down our nation, Christians should take their divine prayer mandate seriously. It’s not that our leaders should be immune from honest criticism. But, no matter who they are, they deserve our intercession. In the end, according to Paul, we are the ones who will benefit from a peaceable life.