LYNCHBURG, Va. -- The Republican presidential frontrunner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, took a break from talking about jobs to open up about his faith during a recent visit to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Perry joked about being in the top 10 of his high school graduating class of 13 and painted a picture of boyhood chats with his Creator.
"I spent many a night pondering my purpose, talking to God, wondering what to do with this one life among the billions that were on the planet," he told an audience of 10,000 evangelical students.
"What I learned as I wrestled with God is that I didn't have to have all the answers, that they would be revealed to me in due time and that I needed to trust Him," he said.
The governor also talked about feeling spiritually lost as a young Air Force pilot.
"My faith journey is not the story of someone who turned to God because I wanted to," he revealed. "It was because I had nowhere else to turn."
Perry's reflective speech followed a debate where he faced criticism over an executive order he signed that required young girls to take an HPV vaccine against cervical cancer.
The governor said he made a mistake. Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said the issue should be put to rest.
"I don't think you'll find a candidate in the world that hasn't made some mistakes, and I think he has said all that needs to be said," Falwell said. "He said 'I've made a mistake' and that's good enough for me."
"God uses broken people to reach a broken world," the Texas governor told students.
Liberty student Levi Howe said he appreciated Perry's transparency.
"I love how down to earth he is," Howe said. "It's really nice from a politician to hear just how open he is about his faith."
Perry encouraged the students to make their voices heard.
"Don't leave it to a bunch of Washington politicians to tell you how to live your life," he said, drawing applause.
The university plans to invite all presidential contenders to speak, including President Obama. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is scheduled to speak to students at convocation later this month.
*Originally aired on September 12, 2011.