What does this prayer really say?

“At a time when it’s easy to lose ourselves in the rush and clamor of our own lives, or get caught up in the noise and rancor that too often passes as politics today, these moments of prayer slow us down. These moments of prayer slow us down. They humble us. They remind us that no matter how much responsibility we have, how fancy our titles, how much power we think we hold, we are imperfect vessels. We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to Him.”

Who do you think said this? An archbishop? A priest? A religious leader?

Actually, it was President Obama, speaking this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast. These words are refreshing to hear in a presidential election year: we should slow down from the distractions that can consume us all – politics included. The “leader of the free world,” arguably the most powerful person in the world, acknowledged that no amount of power or prestige makes anyone perfect.

Obama also discussed the “Golden Rule,” acknowledging that a version of the wisdom to treat others as you wish to be treated appears in every major religion and set of beliefs:

“Treating others as you want to be treated. Requiring much from those who have been given so much. Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper. Caring for the poor and those in need. These values are old. They can be found in many denominations and many faiths, among many believers and among many non-believers. And they are values that have always made this country great – when we live up to them; when we don’t just give lip service to them; when we don’t just talk about them one day a year.”

May Obama – and other political candidates, media outlets, SuperPACs, and ordinary voters  – recall these words as the election year continues to unfold. Let’s all remember to take a break from the “noise and rancor” of politics to reflect on the principles by which we live our lives.