Study of an Apostle's Hands (Praying Hands)

On Monday I revealed the 2nd thing I hate about Christianity which I dive (a little Olympic tribute there) in to in my book (read a sample here). I thought it would be interesting to talk about prayer in the news today.

The founder of Relevant Magazine, Cameron Strang, was scheduled to open up the Democratic National Convention in prayer but backed out this week. What is Relevant Magazine you aks? It describes itself as “Covering God, Life, and Progressive Culture” and is at the top of its game in this arena.

The Obama campaign has been courting Strang for a while. This week he backed out saying, “It wouldn’t be wise for me to be seen as picking a political side when
I’ve consistently said both sides are right in some areas and wrong in
some areas.” Don’t worry the DNC isn’t out a blessing. Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, stepped up to the plate and will do the prayer.

Curious that the act of praying could be so controversial. This leaves me to once again wonder:

What it’s for?

Does it work?

What’s the purpose?

The idea of prayer sure did something in this instance. And I have to say if I was put in a similar circumstance I would be challenged personally. I mean, imagine what kind of publicity I could get for my book!

But I would have to ask myself if praying is really for promotion and personal agenda? Mostly, I think praying should be a private act, or at least personal. After all, that’s what Jesus said to the ‘religious’ people. He blasted them because they would pray in public for show and to display how spiritual they were.

This is not to say that public prayer is out of place, but maybe context, both physically and personally, is important. I think the context can reveal the motivation and purpose. Like at church, a Christian-type conference, etc. prayer fits well and is less emotionally charged.

And not that praying before a convention like this is wrong. If anyone needs prayer, it’s our politicians. But again what is the purpose for the individual here? That’s the question I would have to ask myself personally. That’s what Strang asked himself. And answered it.

Of course, I am nobody special but I have one last question for Cameron Strang and Donald Miller:

Would you have answered the call if the Republicans asked you to pray for their convention?

I wonder…It just seems quite fashionable to reach out to Democratic-leaning leaders and voters, but stick a thumb in the eye of Republican-leaning ones.

Just something to think about as you ‘reach out.’