Monday, April 26, 2010

What's the issue with prayer?

Since when did prayer become an offense? It seems that everyone is bothered with the idea of prayer these days.

When someone dies it is so easy to say, “Your family is in my thoughts and prayers,” “My prayers are with you,” or “I’m praying for you,” but many times fail to do it. Aren’t we then liars for stating we’ll pray for someone when the majority of us seem to be against the idea of prayer in the first place?

Years ago, when Paris Hilton was serving prison time for whatever she did, “The Hollywood Prayer Network” got ripped apart on CNN for stating that they were praying for Ms. Hilton.
Ironically, around that time I was working at The Christian Broadcast Network as a Partner Service Representative, receiving donations for the ministry and praying on the phone with callers. I had a woman call in asking me to pray for Paris Hilton.

My first thought was, “C’mon give me a break.” But then after pausing a few seconds I thought to myself, “She is one of God’s children after all.” Is it really my job (or anyone else’s) to decide who’s worthy of prayer? After thinking a few judgmental thoughts I eventually joined this stranger in praying for Paris Hilton.

This note wasn’t written to dispute whether one should pray for a celebrity like Hilton. What I’m trying to state is that if someone chooses to pray for another we should honor that choice and celebrate them for caring enough to pray. And why should praying for a celebrity or anyone for that matter be such a point of contention? Shouldn’t we be applauding the person who takes the time to pray for another? Usually Christians get accused of being judgmental (which many are). But there are plenty of good kind-hearted Christians out there who have the compassion to set aside time to pray for people whether they’re a reality star, actor, singer, or just the single mom down the street.

Franklin Graham is getting a whole lot of slack and humiliation for trying to lead a “National Day of Prayer,” which it seems to me we desperately need. Why is it such a major issue now? According to Graham, America needs prayer more than ever. "At a time when our country is waging two wars, approval ratings for Congress are at historic lows, unemployment is at a 70-year high and financial institutions have collapsed around us, I can't imagine anyone seriously opposing a National Day of Prayer," he said.

What is wrong with our country? It’s not like Mr. Graham’s going to protest at somebody’s funeral like that church in Topeka, KS we hear too much about. The man is simply calling the nation to pray! I’m sure there are many in other religions praying for America. What’s so wrong with someone calling on others to dedicate a day to the very thing many of us promise to do but may never follow through with?

Who’s the bigger hypocrite? The man who actually prays, or those who say they will but don't follow through with it?

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