Thursday, May 7, 2009

Commercialized Prayer. Wow. It's Really Come to This!

Wow.  I hope that Shirely Dobson never has the opportunity to comment on my prayer life!  I have a feeling she would have a lot to judge, especially as I would much prefer to pray in private.  Before anyone has a chance to tell me I'm evil for having the audacity to call myself an Evangelical and yet question a Dobson, let me fully explain.

First of all, the National Day of Prayer as celebrated by the Bush family...  What was that really?   He invited both Christian and Jewish leaders to his office, gave a short speech about prayer and then invited them to pray.  Now, if he's going to invite Christian and Jewish leaders, then why not Muslim?  Why not Hindu?  What's the real purpose of this?  And, why, simply because Obama chooses to pray in private, rather than make a political spectacle of it, is he criticized? 

Delving in deeper... what is the history behind the National Day of Prayer?   The National Day of Prayer was established as a fixed holiday in 1952, although since the founding of our country various leaders have co-ordinated efforts for a National Day of Prayer . Ronald Reagan made sure that the date of the National Day of Prayer was the first Thursday in May.  Some credit Billy Graham as the one who instigated the more modern version of the idea, although it strikes me that his idea might not be the same one as Shirley Dobson and the National Day of Prayer Task Force.  His idea leaned more towards a day , "on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation  in churches, as groups and as individuals."  

If that's the purpose, then I don't see where a meeting at the White House fits in, and it also appears that Obama did participate in the National Day of Prayer. 

Another confusing thing about this day is the "National Day of Prayer Task Force".  This task force is in no way an official task force in any body's mind, except maybe their own.  However, if you go to their website, their logo makes it look official:  "National Day of Pray official site"  with an itty bitty nearly hidden task force under the banner.  It confused me as I first began to research this, and I'm certain that many people are under the false impression that this task force is actually the body that organizes the National Day of Prayer or actually has some kind of official status. 

What adds to this even more, is that the woman criticizing Obama is the woman who runs the task force that has actually commercialized the National Day of Prayer!  Yes, of course, the National Day of Prayer Task Force has a store!  On it you can purchase things entitled "Event Essentials" -- things you simply can't pray without:  balloons, balloon launch kit (I guess so you can launch balloons that will eventually be litter around the country, although they are supposedly biodegradable), special envelopes, letterhead, fliers, flag pens, and of course, the essential "waving flag pens".  After you've collected your essentials for hosting a National Day of Prayer Event, then you can also purchase apparel, "theme products" and of course, visit their bookstore.   

Have we hit a new low?  We've actually commercialized prayer!  There are self-proclaimed leaders among us that don't believe a church or small portion of the body of Christ can pray for our nation on our own.  We need to be told how to pray, and we can't do it without balloons, flag pins and special letterheads.

Wow.  I don't think that Shirely Dobson really understands what needs criticized here! 

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