Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Start Praying for Rick Warren

I read this article today about controversy creeping into the Obama camp. I guess President Obama's honeymoon is over before it has officially started. The whole article is an interesting read, but one section in particular interested me. It's the part that mentions Rick Warren of Saddleback Church who has been invited to give the invocation at President Obama's inauguration.

"Warren has certainly done good works in his life, including fighting global poverty and AIDS, but he also was a prominent supporter of California’s Proposition 8, which outlaws gay marriage in the state. “This is not a political issue,” Warren wrote in a church bulletin. “It is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.”

So why did Obama give a prominent role in his Inauguration to Warren? It is understandable in terms of raw politics. The Democrats want to reach out to evangelical voters (Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean has been meeting with groups of evangelicals for years), and Warren is considered a moderate by many. So why not toss him a speech? After all, 2012 is right around the corner."

I'm glad that Pastor Warren has been invited to pray for the ceremony, but it truly breaks my heart that prayer is seen in our nation as a political maneuver.

Then again, don't all of us sometimes view prayer as a means to an end? How often do we pray for ourselves rather than for others? Compare the number of times you've interceded for your kingdom with that of God's. Do I really ever pray "Thy will and not mine be done?" Or do I just convince myself that my will happens to look a lot like God's?

If we as Christians treat prayer in such a manner, why would we ever expect the AP to do any different?

I think we all need to pray for Rick Warren. He has an amazing opportunity to represent Christ here. I hope and pray that he shows the world that we (Christians) don't think we have all the answers. I hope that he doesn't use his time to say, "We're right; you're wrong." I hope that he calls on the name of the Lord. Something like, "We are desperate for You to intervene in our nation." How about a prayer aimed to please God and not man?

A certain parable comes to mind.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."


Philip Price said...

Mark, Great blog. I pray you have a wonderful and worshipful New Year. --Philip Price