The White House recently released pictures of a presidential cabinet meeting featuring Vice President Mike Pence leading the group in prayer. The primary plea was focused on victims of recent hurricanes and the safety of others in their paths. The press has minimized that information, demonstrating no desire to really show faith in action. It has always been acceptable for liberals to stand in front of microphones and declare that their “thoughts and prayers” are with those who suffer from catastrophes, but to actually utter a petition while the cameras are running is quite unacceptable.
This reluctance deserves some examination. Could it be that fear of criticism from the politically correct police drives any possible prayers underground? Probably not, for even the ACLU must stifle their noise makers when people are in such serious peril. Common sense suggests that even a prepared intercession read from a script would elevate the worshippers’ esteem in the eyes of the public. The greater possibility is that those who fling the “thoughts and prayers” phrase around are so unfamiliar with the real dynamics of communion with God that any public display of such an attempt would be totally uncomfortable. Of course, the offered rebuttal would be that prayer is a very private action and needs to be performed accordingly. This lame response doesn’t wash in the light of Jesus’ comment: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)
To be sure, the Bible endorses and encourages private individual prayer, but it also includes a number of occasions where government officials offered public prayers in times of national celebration or disasters. When Israel suffered a crushing defeat at the hand of the men of Ai Joshua (the political leader of the nation) gathered the elders together to openly beseech the Lord for wisdom. God responded to this public prayer by pointing to the spiritual cancer that caused the problem (Joshua 7). When answers for calamities are actually sought after, there is an inherent danger that the truth might be revealed. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how problematic that could be.
The last words that David the king uttered before the nation he ruled were phrases of praise for the goodness of God which were spoken in the form of a public prayer (II Chronicles 6). King Solomon stood before the congregation of Israel and voiced a lengthy supplication that runs for thirty-nine verses in II Chronicles 6. The illustrations continue with Jehoshaphat, Joshua, Nehemiah and a multitude of New Testament examples. Once again, the peanut gallery will rise up with the objection that Biblical sampling was a Jewish or Christian economy which bears no relevance to a secular nation.
The Left conveniently forgets the words of one of their own heroes, Abraham Lincoln: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
"Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” If Mr. Lincoln was delusional when he spoke these words, was he in a similar condition when he envisioned emancipation?
Perhaps honest Abe had been influenced by our first president who, on the 8th day of June, 1783, offered the following prayer for the new country he had helped found: “Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.
"And finally, that Thou wilt graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
George Washington’s prayer is a glaring example as to why he must be eradicated from the history books. Praying in the name of “Jesus Christ our Lord” is no longer tolerated by our military chaplains. Any reference to “our blessed religion” is way too exclusive for the media elites. Finally, asking God for the ability to “demean ourselves” would not fit well with modern psychology.
Others can come out, but prayer must be kept in the closet.