Monday, September 01, 2008

The Prayer at the DNC vs. the Prayer of a Real Christian

With regarding practical theology, here's the prayer offered by Donald Miller at the DNC:



Here's the transcript:

...will you please join me for a few moments of reflection as we close our evening in prayer?

Father God,
  • This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future.
We need you, God, as individuals and also as a nation. We need you to protect us from our enemies, but also from ourselves, because we are easily tempted toward apathy.
  • Give us a passion to advance opportunities for the least of these, for widows and orphans, for single moms and childrens whose fathers have left.
  • Give us the eyes to see them, and the ears to hear them, and the hands to serve them.
  • But Help us serve people, not just causes. And stand up to specific injustices rather than vague notions.
  • Give those in this room who have power, along with those who will meet next week, the courage to work together to finally provide health care to those who don’t have any, and a living wage so families can thrive rather than struggle.
  • Help us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an opportunity to get a college education.
  • And Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.
We have tried to figure out these problems ourselves but they are still there. So we need your help.
  • Father, will you restore our moral standing in the world?
  • A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.
  • And will you give us favor and forgiveness, along with our allies around the world?
  • Help us be an example of humility and strength once again.
  • Lastly, father, unify us. Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common. And unify us not just in our ideas and in our sentiments—but in our actions, as we look around and figure out something we can do to help create an America even greater than the one we have come to cherish.
God we know that you are good. Thank you for blessing us in so many ways as Americans. I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let Him be our example. Amen.

With the understanding that this was written down ahead of time, I offer a few thoughts:

"This week, as the world looks on, help the leaders in this room create a civil dialogue about our future."

But when the world isn't looking...?
" the leaders...create a civil dialog..." rather than "...please create a civil dialog..."
"...leaders in this room..." What about leaders elsewhere?
"...a civil dialog..." This is a good acknowledgment that they need to work on this. The DNC has been pretty good about being rhetorically uncivil.
"...dialog about our future." What good does merely talking about it do?
"...about our future." Rather than acknowledging that God holds our future in His hands.

Ok, I'm already tired of tearing this thing apart. I could do this with every phrase offered here, but I'm not. It's a very poor prayer.

Bait and switch time.

All good and decent Christians pray poor prayers to one degree or another. Our minds are still much polluted from contact with a fallen world. We are ignorant of much truth. We look through a glass dimly. We are still being sanctified. Between the Holy Spirit guarding the intent of our hearts and Christ offering intercession on our behalf, the Father knows and understand the desires of His children.

As you pray for wisdom for those in office and those compaigning, understand that you still need to pray for wisdom for yourself as well. Approach the throne of God with a humble heart, with fear and trembling. However, approach with confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit and the work of Christ.

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