Pray for the President
The people have spoken, and we have elected our leader for the next four years. But as President Barack Obama sets his priorities for his second term, we need to remind him of his election promise to offer help and opportunity to the 22 percent of American children who live in poverty and the nearly 1 billion people worldwide who lack basic necessities.
As scripture encourages us (1 Timothy 2:1-2*), please join us in prayer for our leader, especially during this season of Advent. President Obama's second inauguration on Jan. 21 provides an occasion to articulate another prayer, one modeled after David’s supplication for Solomon. Psalm 72, the "Coronation Psalm," provides guidance for our leader, asking that he "defend the cause of the poor of the people [and] give deliverance to the needy."
In the coming months, the president will be pulled in many directions by competing priorities. Launching a comprehensive war on poverty needs to rise to the top of his list. Through our prayers and our petitions, let us help President Obama make ending hunger a hallmark of his final term in office.
To this end, we have developed resources to help you and your congregation encourage President Obama to work toward eliminating hunger. Earlier this month, we mailed a "Make It Happen" DVD with Inauguration resources to thousands of churches. The DVD contains the presidential prayer, a study guide, videos, and a petition to President Obama. The "Make It Happen" materials are also available online at www.bread.org/makeithappen.
These resources were developed courtesy of a special donation by Rick Steves, host of the PBS show Europe Through the Back Door. He contributed the money to produce this DVD as parcel to a promotion to attain over 100,000 "likes" on his Facebook page. Many thanks to all of you who participated and helped us obtain the funds necessary for this important project.
Rick Steves' special gift enabled us to ensure that hungry and poor people did not remain invisible during the last elections. Working with our partners in the Circle of Protection, we secured exclusive video statements from President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney in which they outlined what they would do to help hungry and poor people if elected. Through Steve's contribution, we were able to produce and promote these statements.
More than 120,000 of you saw the presidential videos on the Bread for the World website and thousands more watched them on the sites of our Circle of Protection partners. We sent copies of the DVD to hundreds of churches in key target districts. Through our email campaign targeted at Christians in key states, more than 53,000 of you signed a petition asking the two presidential candidates to make eliminating hunger and poverty a priority in their campaigns.
In addition, we ran nearly 700 radio spots on key Christian radio stations. The message was so compelling that many stations continued to run the radio spots beyond their original commitments.
Did the candidates listen to our voices? We have anecdotal information that they did. And according to a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, three-quarters of those who attend religious services at least monthly say that their clergy have recently spoken out about hungry and poverty. The national conversation is shifting.
Praying for the president to "Make It Happen" is the final stage of this election campaign. In his video statement to the Circle of Protection, President Obama promised to "protect vital assistance for the least of these." We are holding him accountable to that promise — and asking him to set a goal and work with Congress to end hunger in the United States and abroad.
Your prayers and petitions provide crucial support to Bread staff and activists as they advocate on behalf of hungry people. As the president and Congress negotiate to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, they continue to focus on the middle class, generally avoiding discussion about hungry and poor people — despite the fact that poor and hungry people vote, and they voted overwhelmingly for the president.
It has fallen to us – the faith community – to speak and pray for the most vulnerable.
*1 Timothy 2:1-2: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.