Brother Can You Spare A Prayer? 
Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 11:17 AM - Extra Christy
Inauguration Prayers Parsed

All the discussion about the inauguration prayers and those who pray in public reminds me of a Southern Baptist student I worked with once. When a parishioner complained about a prayer he gave, he replied, "I wasn't talking to you."

Public inclusive prayer is tricky. There are so many flavors of Christianity on our national table along with other varieties of soul food. Often there are those present who skip spiritual nourishment altogether. Jesus wisely tells his followers to avoid the hollow rewards of public prayer and recommends praying in private.

In his inauguration prayer, the Rev. Rick Warren moved from a public gathering of hopes and faiths (he touched sacred texts of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in the opening sentences) into a personal testimony of who changed his life and in whose name he was asking all the above. (He switched from "We" and "our" to "I" and "my".)

Sharing what you believe and who gives you hope and purpose maybe be the best way to be personal in public prayer. In may also help us remember who is the audience for all prayers whether we are alone or in front of millions.

Table for One...

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." - Matthew 6:5-6 (NIV)

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