Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Watering Down Prayer

Well, I really got on a "soapbox" this morning. The Gospel for today is Luke's account of the Lord teaching His disciples to pray (Luke 11: 1-4). This "Lord's Prayer" has been handed down from generation to generation of Christians for two thousand years. As I was drinking my coffee, I read an article in the local paper regarding a county council's fight to keep saying "The Lord's Prayer" at the start of each meeting. Now I know that many people with good intentions think that anyone objecting to such a practice is being too sensitive, but this article proves why I am not in favor of having our prayers become part of government business.
You see, the brilliant minds who are trying to keep reciting this prayer are arguing that it is not an "exclusively Christian prayer". Excuse me??? They have even come up with various quotes from the sacred books of other religions to show that it contains "non-denominational textual statements of supplication and belief, and as all-inclusive as a prayer may reasonably be."
Hogwash!  These are not merely meaningless words that can be spoken by anyone. It is a prayer, taught by Jesus Christ and a sacred part of our religion. Our Christian religion! Whether Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or any other  Christian denomination, we do not merely recite these words, we pray them. And they are not words that just anyone can or should say without faith - faith in the Author, Jesus Christ. How dare they try to take our prayer away from us!
Now I see nothing wrong with a moment of silence to open a public / government / school meeting. I can and do pray at these times. But I refuse to allow people to take my Lord's prayer and turn it into a meaningless stream of words that anyone can recite without thought, intention or faith. Rather than preserving faith and Christian values, this is one of the reasons they are being eroded. I blame those who try and force expressions of faith on others for the weakening of faith in our country. They are not fighting for the right to pray, they are fighting for the right to say words which they obviously consider to be meaningless, inoffensive and generic. Sorry, but I object. I object to using this prayer given to us by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as a weapon. I object to removing it's meaning and importance to Christians everywhere. And I object to having so-called Christians give the impression that they speak for all followers of Christ, when most of us would rather pray the words our Savior gave us in a context where they retain their power and meaning.
If you would like to read the article, you can find it here:|newswell|text|Home|s.
For now, I hope you will take some time today and reflect on what this prayer means and how we should use it:
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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