Monday, May 29, 2006

"Christianish" Prayer in the National Day of Prayer

The blog What You Do, Do Quickly is from some in the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod, the more conservative or fundamentalist denomination of Lutheranism in the USA. This blog had a fascinating post on a prayer being offered up as part of the National Day of Prayer:

Prayer Excerpt:
Oh Heavenly Father,

You have made Yourself known to us as a nation by Your mighty works throughout our history. From the beginning, You have been with us through many wars and conflicts; Your right arm has saved us. We have been amazingly and graciously blessed.

Today, we confess our sin of not responding to Your right to rule in our lives and our nation. Too often we have despised and rejected Your will while imposing our own, and we are now facing the consequences of our disobedience. Draw us back to Yourself that we may return to Your ways once again. Without You we can do nothing.

You have promised that if we honor You, You will once again honor this great nation. That is our fervent prayer. For Your honor and glory we pray, Amen.


Their assessment of this prayer is:

>> The prayer is not only naïvely nationalistic, it is also purely pagan.
>> Worst of all, it sounds Christianish, but is conspicuously non-Christian.
>> It presents a Father but no Son, sin but no Savior, and glory and honor
>> but no Cross.

Now here's my list of reactions:

1) The National Day of Prayer has always bothered me, for reasons starting with nationalism. I'm not at all bothered by those commenters in the blog who called this prayer pagan.

2) Those fundamentalists in the LC-MS who continue to be incensed over Atlantic District President David Benke's presence at the post-9/11 prayer event at Yankee Stadium bother me even more.

3) At the same time, I am not sure I agree with those who say that every prayer that doesn't reference the Triune God is an affront. I'm wondering how hard it would be to find biblical (NT) ones that ever fail to do so. Specifically designing a prayer to be non-triune is another matter, even designing an event to include non-explicitly-Abrahamic religious sentiments is another matter still.

4) I don't claim that there aren't logical inconsistencies in 1)-3). Open to education.

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