My God in his steadfast love will meet me.
The most efficient way for a politician to generate a cocktail of fodder for pundits and bloggers is to overtly mix politics and theology. This has not dissuaded the president from speaking publicly of faith.
“For many of us, prayer is an important expression of faith — an essential act of worship and a daily discipline that allows reflection, provides guidance, and offers solace,” President Obama said last week in a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. Though less than 600 words, the White House document read like a theology of prayer and presents three outcomes of prayer:
“Through prayer we find the strength to do God’s work: to feed the hungry, care for the poor, comfort the afflicted, and make peace where there is strife. In times of uncertainty or tragedy, Americans offer humble supplications for comfort for those who mourn, for healing for those who are sick, and for protection for those who are in harm’s way. When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone — our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God.”
There is much to be learned about a person’s theology from their understanding of prayer and much will likely be written about the president’s views. But even more can be learned from how a person prays. This is what makes the Psalms so powerful — they teach Christians how to pray by exposing us to intellectually honest, emotionally vulnerable, dedicated times of prayer.
“Faith is never quiet; true faith is a crying faith,” Charles Spurgeon says in his exposition on the Psalms. “If you have confidence in God of such a kind that you do not need to pray, get rid of it; for it is of no use to you; it is a false confidence, it is presumption. Only a crying faith will be a prevailing faith.”
The easiest way to take for granted a country where prayer is nationally endorsed, and — more egregiously — a God who desires to meet us in prayers, is simply not to pray.
God, forgive us for presumption in faith. Don’t allow the relatively un-persecuted nature of prayer in our country lull us into complacency. Thank you for hearing our prayers. Give us hearts that abide and lives enriched by our relationship with you through the sacrifice of your son.
Part 1 of 5, read more on TheParkForum.org