Prayer for the Wrong Reason

My mom forwarded me an email this morning about an unnamed group of people organizing a mass prayer at 9:00pm eastern time (presumably tonight, though there’s no date mentioned).

The purpose of the prayer? Read for yourself:

“spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.”

On the surface, praying for the safety of the country, its troops and citizens is definitely a good thing to be praying for.

Returning to a Godly nation sounds like a nice thought. But what does that really look like?

The answer, particularly in an election year, depends upon whom you ask. And therein lies my problem with this.

For some people, “returning to a Godly nation” means simply electing a Republican to the presidency. For some, that’s literally all it would take.

I do not know the specific motive of the person who drafted this little email. I don’t even have the complete text of the email. (And my mom has learned to not include the sender of things she has passed on to me because she has learned the hard way that if a friend of hers mindlessly forward something easily proved false, I’ll reply to that person with the proof.)

I wanted to be clear about that, because this may have originated from someone who has no secret, unspoken “agenda” of any kind. Since there’s no further information, we have no way to know for sure.

But I am automatically suspicious when I read things like that. We all should be.

I’d be willing to pray for the safety of our nation. I’d be willing to pray for everyone — both those who already have begun a relationship with God and those who’ve yet to do so — to experience unquestionable God moments in their lives this year so that they could know what God is and is not all about.

But “returning to a more Godly nation” can mean a lot of different things. And those people who want to politicize it, it has nothing to do with being “Godly” and everything to do with winning their own political agenda. Who’s to say, after all, that the more religious, more moral candidate might not be the one who happens to be part of the other party?

If you’re going to ask God for something, you should be honest in your request. If you’re going to encourage others to join you in asking God for something, there’s no reason not to be clear about exactly what you’re asking for.

Any level of dishonesty where a prayer request is concerned certainly can’t impress the Lord. And you might just get far worse than what you’re hoping for.

Why would anyone want to take that chance?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.