Fr Reid Shelton Fernando released a statement and an ‘election prayer’ to underscore the great responsibility Christians have, as voters, to pick people who possess the qualities that will keep the people united and the country free.
Colombo (Asia News) – Father Reid Shelton Fernando (picture 2), a a human rights activist, a former university lecture and the former chaplain of the Young Christian Workers Movement (YCWM), released a statement and an ‘election prayer” to underscore the great responsibility Christians have, as voters, to pick the people who possess the necessary qualities to keep people united and the country free.
“Please,” he said, “put aside this prayer in the introduction. What we need is to pray in faith as found in Ex 3:7. God listens to the cry of the poor desperate people and the unexpected thing may happen. God can change the minds of people. Let us hope ‘ [. . .] that the best outcome will be shared by many Christians, including priests and nuns.”
“Let us pray,” said Fr Fernando, “for God’s guidance for ourselves and for our fellow citizens in electing representatives to contribute to the realisation of a future that is peaceful and prosperous, in which freedom, human and democratic rights and human dignity of all the communities are respected.
“Grant us the discernment to correctly assess their views, plans, experience, character and proposed programs, and guide us to cast our vote for the candidate who will best represent your Divine Will on Earth.”
The prayer reads: “Heavenly Father, you are the Creator of Heaven and Earth, you have created us according to your image and likeness (Gen 1 &2). In the work of looking after Your creation, You have bestowed upon us freedom and the power to use this freedom for the good of all humans as well as all of creation.
“We have failed in many aspects. Forgive us for our failure. As we are to give our rulers the task of governing, grant all the citizens of this country, the guidance of Your Holy Spirit, no matter whether they are Christians or not; grant all of them the wisdom to choose the best candidate from their respective parties who will not follow the path of selfishness and of corruption.
“We pray that the election process will be fair, honest and free from fraud and technical difficulties and lead to the formation of a government that will govern our country with righteousness. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will be at work in all of us at this time to enable us to make serious and informed choices for the country’s future welfare. Amen.”
Sri Lanka’s parliamentary election was initially scheduled for 25 April, but was postponed because of COVID 19 after a nation-wide lockdown was imposed in March. It was reset for 20 June, then on 5 August.
About 16 million voters are eligible to choose 225 lawmakers among 7,400 candidates running for 20 political parties and 34 independent groups.