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Good Government Prayers

Mother Davis folds her hands together and waits as she observes,

There’s been a lot of conspicuous public prayer – exactly the kind that the Christians’ Bible admonishes against – during the Inauguration and the first few hours of the Obama Administration. They prayed before the pre-Inauguration concert. They prayed at the religious service given to Barack Obama before he heard the prayer before the Inauguration and then the prayer after the Inauguration, and then the prayer at the Inaugural Luncheon, and then the party prayers, and finally the National Prayer Service (it wasn’t really national – did they have it in your town?).

All of these prayers have given credit to God for good American government. They’ve said that it’s God who makes good political leaders, and they’ve begged God to make sure that Barack Obama is a good President and that we have a good national government over the next four years.

One of the signs of a good national government is that it executes the law effectively and consistently. In order for that to happen, we need to have an Attorney General of the United States. That’s the person who’s the top law enforcement officer in the country.

Eric Holder has been the man Barack Obama nominated for the job. Now maybe Holder is the right person for the job, and maybe he isn’t. I’m inclined to say that Eric Holder is not the right person to become Attorney General, given the way that he has supported programs through which the government spies on people’s private lives, including American soldiers while they’re engaged in sexual activity with their wives and husbands, without getting a search warrant or otherwise proving that the spying is related to any suspicion of criminal activity. It’s important, though, whether Eric Holder is the right choice or not, that America gets an Attorney General without unnecessary delay.

Just such an unnecessary delay has taken place today, however. The Senate was scheduled to work on the confirmation of Eric Holder as Attorney General, but that work had to be canceled because several senators could not attend. Why couldn’t they make it? They said that they had to go to the National Prayer Service instead of coming to work.

These senators couldn’t do their duty to maintain good government because they wanted to go take part in prayers hoping that there would be good government.

These pray-to-play senators seem to agree with all the conspicuous inaugural prayers that it’s God, not people, who make government good. I say that the best government is one in which people actually show up to work, instead of just talking about work.

Who’s right? If people really believe that the source of good government is God, and not the actual people in government, then I propose an experiment to test their hypothesis. Instead of having senators, and congressional representatives, and judges, and Executive Branch officials show up to work, let’s have them just stay home and pray to God for the next year. On January 21, 2010, we’ll see just what kind of government God has delivered to us with all of that prayer for encouragement.

Shaking her hands to get the feeling back into them,
Mother Davis

2 comments to Good Government Prayers

  • jon

    Mother Davis.

    I would guess that your reference to public prayer is based mostly on Matthew 6.5…

    5″And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
    9″This, then, is how you should pray:
    ” ‘Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    10your kingdom come,
    your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    11Give us today our daily bread.
    12Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.[a]‘ 14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    I would argue that His concern here was not in praying in public, but rather using public prayer as a way to build their sense of Godliness. The message that Jesus was trying to convey throughout his ministry was that salvation was not gained through rote observation of rules. But rather through an internal transformation of the heart.

    Your concern about public prayer may still be a valid one,if the participants are making a show for the sake of being seen by other men/women. Not being able to see into their hearts I cannot have any valuable opinion.

    As for public prayer in earnest..
    Here is an example, and if Jesus did it , it’s good enough for me..

    John
    38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39″Take away the stone,” he said.
    “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
    40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

    41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said,(this is public prayer) “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

    43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
    Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

    • “Not being able to see into their hearts I cannot have any valuable opinion.”

      Being broadcast on television wasn’t a clue to you? Do you think they would have bothered to make their prayers as they made them if they weren’t on TV? Do you think there wasn’t any aspect of public honor and career advancement in being chosen?

      These weren’t genuine prayers – they were speeches.

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