Author Topic: National Day of Prayer  (Read 3263 times)

peter_speckhard

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National Day of Prayer
« on: May 06, 2021, 11:41:52 PM »
"Throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope and guidance. Prayer has nourished countless souls and powered moral movements – including essential fights against racial injustice, child labor and infringement on the rights of disabled Americans. Prayer is also a daily practice for many, whether it is to ask for help or strength, or to give thanks over blessings bestowed."

That quote was the main part of the president's proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. Conservative news media is touting the lack of any reference to God. Setting that issue aside, I think many Christians fall into this trap of thinking that prayer has power. Perhaps the Triumph of the Therapeutic from way back in the day contributes to the misconception. 

Prayer is talking to God. The power to answer it is God's. Prayer has zero power in and of itself. If I write a letter to the Make A Wish Foundation to help a cancer-stricken child, I'm not turning to the power of the United Stated Postal Service to make a difference. The postal service is a means of communication and nothing more. As is prayer. Too many people, I'm convinced, think they're being high-minded by talking about prayer without talking about about God because that way they can avoid religious differences. But such enlightened openness is a false illusion.  It treats religious practice as some sort of magic or keying into the hidden physics of the universe without reference to faith or God. It is as though prayer and the power of positive thinking or mind over matter were all one and the same.


Charles Austin

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2021, 12:03:13 AM »
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2021, 06:32:38 AM »
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
I suppose, Charles, that you're especially sensitive to those who might pick a fight over the current occupant of the White House having vigorously done just that for the last four years. Your example of the AA 11th Step pointed out precisely what was objectionable in President Biden's proclamation. By not acknowledging that prayer by its very nature is to someone however the prayer understands God, LCMS, Catholic, or Great Spirit of Progressivism, he subverted the very nature of prayer. What he specifically did not do is talk about talking to God.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 07:00:32 AM by Dan Fienen »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2021, 08:10:25 AM »
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
I'm not picking a fight. I'm pointing out a problem with having a national day of prayer without acknowledging an object of prayer, which contributes to a popular sense (popular also in many of our churches) that prayer itself is what it powerful.

John_Hannah

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2021, 08:20:49 AM »
My experience with these type of events whether hosted by Democratic, Republican, or independent (as in the military) leaders is that they inevitably fall far short of any serious theological substance. If you don't like it, stay away. Or, at least, go to church regularly and vote your choice knowing God blesses that choice.

Peace, JOHN
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Dan Fienen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2021, 08:45:05 AM »
I do not look for theological profundity (or any other profundity for that matter) in the political arena, but I do long for at least the theological acumen shown in the AA Twelve Steps, especially from one who has made a point of accentuating his Catholicism. 
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RDPreus

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2021, 08:47:02 AM »
I don't know if it is deliberate, but the National Day of Prayer falls in the week before Rogate Sunday.  Here's an opportunity for everyone to hear what Jesus has to say about prayer.

Mike in Pennsylvania

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2021, 09:10:30 AM »
RD, the National Day of Prayer is always the first Thursday in May.  This year it happens to precede Rogate Sunday, but other years . . .
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Charles Austin

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2021, 09:13:00 AM »
Ah, Pastor Fienen but in the language of the 12 step recovery programs that phrase “God, as we understand him,“ is important. Recovery literature makes it clear that “God,“ need not be the “God“ that many people reference. Often “higher power” is used.
And in today’s largely secular culture, the word designating a deity may indeed be a little bit vague. But it is not vague in the mind of one who chooses to have a national day of prayer or to recognize the need for a higher power in recovery uses it.
Peter’s gripe is, in my not so humble opinion, argumentative. Serves no purpose except to swipe at the president.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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RDPreus

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2021, 09:22:13 AM »
Thank you, Mike.

What better way for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer than in light of these words of our Savior?

St. John 16:23 30 
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father." His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God."

Charles Austin

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2021, 09:25:58 AM »
No, PastorvPreus, the better way to evaluate a call for a national day of prayer is to recognize that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Article coming up in Lutheran Forum journal. Now would be a good time to subscribe.
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Dan Fienen

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2021, 09:32:21 AM »
Ah, Pastor Fienen but in the language of the 12 step recovery programs that phrase “God, as we understand him,“ is important. Recovery literature makes it clear that “God,“ need not be the “God“ that many people reference. Often “higher power” is used.
And in today’s largely secular culture, the word designating a deity may indeed be a little bit vague. But it is not vague in the mind of one who chooses to have a national day of prayer or to recognize the need for a higher power in recovery uses it.
Peter’s gripe is, in my not so humble opinion, argumentative. Serves no purpose except to swipe at the president.
I recognize that in any such proclamation by a governmental official in anything like his official position, the reference to God or a higher power will be vague. Without a official state religion invoking the God of a specific religion could be divisive. But I suppose it would be too much to have had Pres. Biden acknowledge that prayer is anything more than an inward looking spiritual exercise directed at nothing outside the one who prays.


As for taking a swipe at the president, I bow to the expertise of one who has practiced that craft extensively and relentlessly over the past four years.
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Charles Austin

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2021, 09:37:41 AM »
If you try to make a parallel between President Biden and the hyper-lying scoundrel who formally held that office, and who still contends that he ought to be in that office, Constantly lying about how it was stolen from him, you do that. But I won’t buy it.
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D. Engebretson

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2021, 09:40:25 AM »
I'll admit that I've never given any attention to the National Day of Prayer during my ministry.  I really can't see the purpose of it, especially since it comes from a government proclamation.  In the church every time we gather for worship is a "day of prayer."  If someone hadn't highlighted it here I might not have even known it occurred. 
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

RDPreus

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Re: National Day of Prayer
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2021, 09:42:39 AM »
No, PastorvPreus, the better way to evaluate a call for a national day of prayer is to recognize that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.

We all know that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.  Is this not good reason for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer in light of what our Lord Jesus says?  Or should we not consider what Jesus says about prayer?  Rev. Austin, what is your point?