Manspeak


The Content of Prayer by Tyler Thayer
January 22, 2009, 12:12 am
Filed under: Thought Initiative

thoughtintiative

by Tyler Thayer

Over the Inauguration we saw three prayers given by various pastors:  Gene Robinson, Rick Warren, and Rev. Joseph Lowery. Essentially, each came from different walks of life, each represented a different protestant denomination, and each prayer sounded drastically different.  Obama said he wanted the event to reflect diverse views, and thus we received three very different prayers with different content and contexts.

Check out this article from AP: Inaugural prayers aim for a more diverse America

Also, please read/watch each of the prayers:
Rick Warren’s Prayer | Video
Gene Robinson’s Prayer | Video
Rev. Joseph Lowery’s Prayer | Video

 

Some questions to help us think about these prayers:

1.Are all the prayer’s biblical?  What makes them different, and what is significant about each?
2.Was Obama right in asking such a diverse group of pastors to pray?  As President and as a Christian, is his inclusive and ideas about representing diversity of religion a good idea?  Are there any consequences?
3.Do the prayers contradict each other or are they unified?  Do they cause a problem for Christianity?
4.After the Inauguration, is Christianity represented more clearly or is doctrine and scripture hazy?
5.Were each of them praying to the God of the bible?

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3 Comments so far
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I can say that for the same reason I’m glad someone like Al Mohler or John Piper did not give the inauguration prayer, I’m just as equally disheartened that Gene Robinson and Reverend Lowery were asked to pray on behalf of the administration.

Apart from being extraordinarily blasphemous (“god of our many understandings” Are you kidding me?!), Robinson’s prayer sounded like a lecture on liberal social thought.

And although he did not blaspheme, Reverend Lowery also ended up bringing unnecessary political jargon into his prayer. At the end of the prayer he prayed for the day when “white embraces what is right.” Not only is that not needed in such a prayer, it’s just plain racist.

I understand that I’m probably not in a position to judge a man who fought for racial justice in light of being threatened with lynchings, bombings, etc., but I would think the fact that President Obama was elected shows the transformation America has gone under. I don’t know, maybe I am wrong, but it just doesn’t seem called for in my opinion.

I know I probably sound like the most cynical person in the world at this point, but I really was not that big of a fan of Rick Warren until Tuesday. After reading Mark Driscoll’s comments about him, I can say that he was right about his critics (me) because I was judging a man that is so scrutinized by the media that I could not imagine it from a place where I receive no scrutiny from the media.

Anyways, pastor Warren gave God a lot of glory in that prayer by not giving into peer pressure and actually praying to Jesus instead of the “god of our many understandings” however you want to take that. I thank God for giving Rick Warren courage to proclaim Christ’s name.

Comment by Justin Day

I liked Ricks the best. A lot of those questions I can’t really answer humbly…

Comment by James Baby

1.Are all the prayer’s biblical? What makes them different, and what is significant about each?

No. Gene’s was not and it was obvious that not only is His grasp of the Gospel highly lacking, but it is also painfully apparent that the Holy Spirit was not over him.

2.Was Obama right in asking such a diverse group of pastors to pray? As President and as a Christian, is his inclusive and ideas about representing diversity of religion a good idea? Are there any consequences?

Yes, it is a good idea. Although I do not like his choices (or at least Gene due to heresy and Lowry not being particularly genuine or a prayer), diveristy is a great thing. In all essentials unity and in all non-essentials diversity. Considering that America is built off of diversity, I am very happy with the outcome. This is where we live and it is a gift from God. Although one may not like the diversity at times, one must admit that it is a good problem to have.

3.Do the prayers contradict each other or are they unified? Do they cause a problem for Christianity?

They tend to contradict each other, but we are sinners and in desperate need of a mediator and savior. Their flawed prayers posit no problem for Christianity as we know not how to pray as we ought, but instead the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in groanings.

Post Scriptum: I am very thankful for Rick Warren. He prayed in such a way that God was pleased and the Holy Spirit was with him on that day at that time aiding him in spreading the Gospel and interceding for this country and this president. He was the most discernably genuine of the three.

Comment by Jonathan Kelfer




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