20 January 2009

Inauguration Day Prayer #5: Nobody Of Any Consequence

by Dan Phillips

[See the series introduction/explanation]

I offer this truly apologetically. I've been holding spot #5 open for a particular Invitee. If you knew who the fifth person I asked really was, you'd hate me even worse. But I failed to give him enough notice, so you're stuck with me. Sorry! Put the blame on me.

(If he provides something later, I'll share it, because I know we would all profit by it. I wanted to have all of these up well before the inauguration, or before Warren's prayer might be published, so that they cannot be seen as a reaction to it.)

At least I'll spare you the customary introduction to the guest poster.

But first, please, a round of applause for the four gents who participated and shared their thoughts with us. Let's give it up for Prof. Frame, and Pastors Anyabwile, Brauns, and Johnson!

{ thunderous applause, whistling, lighters in air }

HSAT, I add three more observations before the prayer:
  1. I'm totally cheating in that I, unlike the other four, have read them all. But...
  2. ...believe me or don't, this is the prayer that began forming in my mind when I started thinking about this a month ago.
  3. Would I accept the invitation? I still think what I thought at that point: I would take the opportunity, if they attempted no censorship. I can only recall one opportunity for the Word that I ever turned down on principle, and that decision was reached reluctantly and painfully. Basically my stance is: give me an opportunity to get in the Word, don't try to censor me, and if I can be there, I'm there.
And so, without further eloquence, a very small figure stands among his betters and offers this, which comes in at about three minutes (not allowing for boo's, riots, and a hail of gunfire).



Oh God, our Creator, Sustainer, and Judge, You have blessed America most extraordinarily. No other nation has ever enjoyed such resources, opportunities and freedoms.

Even so, we call to mind what Your only Son, God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ, told us: "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required" (Luke 12:48). You have given us much — and what have we done with it?

No other nation in history, since your Son walked the earth, has had such access to Your inerrant Word, the Bible; nor such liberty to preach it and teach it. Against the backdrop of world history, our freedoms are simply staggering. Yet the moral corruption in Washington is rivaled by the spiritual corruption in our pulpits, and in our pews.

Preachers twist and compromise Your truth, selling out on their calling so that they can be loved by those who hate You. People who name Your name choose to ignore Your words, and love the world, love to be stylish. Oh God, grant repentance to us who claim to know You. Inflame preachers with love for you that cannot be bridled nor tamed, love that shows in fearless and uncompromising proclamation of your Word. Inflame believers with love for Christ that cannot be overlooked nor misunderstood, love that shows in lives that reflect the character and revealed wisdom of God.

And God, we confess with shame that, though we are the richest nation on earth, we are among the cruelest when it comes to our most helpless and needy. Thousands of unborn children are killed each day, oh Lord, slain on the altar of our selfishness and lusts. If they are inconvenient or imperfect, we kill them. Our hands are bloody. We are deeply guilty, yet do not even blush. I cannot ask that You forgive us, much less that You bless us with further prosperity to squander. I ask, instead, that You grant us to feel our shame, that You grant us repentance, so that You might forgive us.

Lord, we have sinned. I have sinned. President Obama has sinned. All who hear me have sinned. We know better. Knowing Your Word is not above our pay-grade. We can offer no excuse.

But thank You that You, the God who is holy and just, and loving and merciful, sent Your only Son to give Himself a ransom-price to secure freedom and forgiveness for all who would believe in Him with repentant faith. Thank You for Jesus, born of the virgin Mary, crucified for sinners, dead, buried, and risen to life on the third day. Thank You that He is at your right hand, ever living to grant forgiveness and life to all who call on His name in faith. Thank You for that glorious promise.

And so, our God, we pray that President Obama will know that transforming faith in Jesus. We pray that he will humble himself at the cross of Christ, and know You as Savior and Lord. We pray that Your word will transform his thinking, that Your word will be his law. The king's heart is in Your hands, oh God — and so, surely, is the president's. We pray You grant him this saving grace.

America has been called a shining city on a hill. If that was ever true, the light is guttering, dark and dim now. Oh God, grant repentance to this land, that our spiritual prosperity might outstrip our material prosperity, to the glory of the living, triune God of Scripture.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, the only name given under heaven among men by which we must be saved.

Amen.



The previous rule about not dissing the guest is suspended, in this case. Have at it, within the normal rules.

Dan Phillips's signature

50 comments:

JB said...

Excellent.

Matt said...

Dan, that prayer is phenomenal. Would that you had been invited to pray at the inauguration - millions would have heard the gospel, clear and uncompromising.

Thank you.

Frank Turk said...

Nobody axed me yet.

Al said...

It's not all about you Frank... I learned that this week.

al sends

Al said...

John Frame's prayer seemed most in keeping with 1 Tim 2:1-2

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

al sends

DJP said...

My conscious model, fwiw, was more Daniel 9.

donsands said...

Powerful words in that prayer. Thanks for sharing it. I don't think you would be well spoken of with such a prayer, full of truth and grace.

But to think a prayer like this would be very welcome 40, or 50 years ago.

Where will this nation be in 40 years from now?

"without further eloquence"

Every time I read that phrase I think of Victor Mclaglen in the film, The Quiet Man.

DJP said...

Bingo. You do win the Movie Trivia prize for the day, Don. (Great movie, eh?)

(c;

Deb_B said...

Amen.

Solameanie said...

I sometimes wish Micaiah, son of Imlah, was around today. I'm sure he'd have a few choice words to speak to power.

eastendjim said...

Kick'n!

BJ Irvin said...

Good series. Al Mohler is on topic today as well:
http://www.almohler.com

pastorjim said...

Dan,

You hit one out of the park, bro.

Too bad we're unlikely to hear anything like this at any inaugural event.

Frank Turk said...

Al --

It's one thing to point out that I haven't been included on the prayer-fest this go-round.

It's another to read one's disposition and theological saw-horses into an otherwise-brilliant post on a different subject.

They say, anyway.

~Mark said...

Amen Dan, amen.

NoLongerBlind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NoLongerBlind said...

RW's prayer wasn't too bad,
other than squandering the opportunity to proclaim the Truth boldly and clearly to the watching world.

Your is way better, Dan.

JMHO, FWIW....

CR said...

I think you would have been taken away by force from Secret Service after the part of "President Obama has sinned."

Rachael Starke said...

Awesome. Amen and Amen.

James said...

Well, CR, at least that would prove before all the world our intolerance of anything TRULY naming the name of Christ.

What greater witness than, when honestly praying for the repentence of those in authority, one be hauled away in front of cameras because of one's faith in Christ.

I, and the rest of us who are among the elect here in America, are a little too scared of a little persecution. I know I am, at least.

TBE said...

Awesome stuff, Dan. But offer me just one reassurance: you would be wearing that viking helmet to the inauguration, wouldn't you???

DJP said...

It would be, I think, advisable.

Dan S. said...

If the Secret service missed "President Obama has sinned" line, they surely would have moved you out for the "Knowing your Word is not above our pay-grade" line. Love it!

ErnestoPerdonado said...

Great Prayer! and has what was missed in Rick Warren's prayer(which was not that bad, as I thought): The Gospel.

Now that i think about it, i would certainly omit the part about the Pay-Grade, in order to have the Gospel as the Only Stumbling Block and Folishness, and not any that might be considered ad-hominem.

What about the Mystery Guest?
John Piper?
Dr Packer?

Blessings

ErnestoPerdonado said...

another thing, was the picture illustrating the post, made by one of your children?

DJP said...

No, a friend made it maybe 25 years ago.

Aaron said...

Exlent prayer but I think the first headline we would see in The antional apers is "Relgious Fanatic Idiceted on Hate crimes" if you where to offer a prayer like that.

DJP said...

So you're saying all men wouldn't speak well of me?

Mesa Mike said...

Excellent.

If I'm ever elected Grand Poobah, you're invited to invocate at my coronation.

Chris said...

Bravo Dan! Did you actually use the word "sin"?? Perhaps I've been preparing my mind for Warren's prayerette today for so long now that hearing this "bad" word in your version sounds like foreign language....hmmmm. That's because it is for most of the world today, sadly.

Solameanie said...

If Peter Marshall was alive today and still chaplain of the Senate, I wonder what he would have prayed?

Leslie said...

Mr. Dan Phillips,

Your prayer was such an encouragement to read!!! Any attempt by anyone to improve upon it would be only silly and nit-picky. Thank you for acknowledging this nation's sin, the church's sins. Many are tired of ignoring the elephant in the room. The cry of hearts is "Lord, grant us repentance." Thank you for giving your voice to that!

NoLongerBlind said...

Hmmmmm....

Nordic headgear and facial hair, sword from the usual photo.....

Now I know where I've seen you before....

You used to be the team mascot for that (formerly) outdoor-playing cold-weather NFL team, back in their heyday, in the days of the "Fearsome Foursome"....

You're Ragnar the Viking!

DJP said...

Aigh! Found out!

Boerseuntjie said...

We could do with the SAME prayer here in the United Kingdom for our Government and people... In fact not only here but in my native South Africa and well.... EVERY country, peoples and government.

What and evangelistic and Grace Doctrinal prayer; to YAHWEH Alone be all glory, honor and prause forevermore - His Kingdom is even NOW established for ever more!

Thanks be to our Triune God, His mercy, grace, justice and holiness.

Libbie said...

Now you see, you can give me big name guys, and I respect them greatly.

But I respect them no more or less than you, dear brother, and, with modifications regarding my own geography, that is a prayer I will pray myself tonight.

Rita Martinez said...

Amen!!
Although Mr. Phillips I don't think they would've let you finish this prayer...and you would definitely need more than that helmet for protection :P

SJ Camp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Berean said...

When I read it, I saw Acts 7:54 and 59 running through my mind.

DJP said...

In that setting, not out of the question.

James said...

I think DA Carson has said that now, more than other times in post-apostolic-era history, is Paul's encounter with the pagans at Mars Hill (Acts 17:22-34) so close to what we face in our own society today.

So these gospel-laden sermonettes seem VERY Mars-Hill-esque to me.

You 5 seem very much like Paul in Acts 17:16: "Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols."

Now, it be amusingly ironic if that 5th person you asked was THE D.A. Carson, wouldn't it, Dan? ;)

DJP said...

True dat.

(c;

Susan said...

Before I read any comments, Dan, let me just say that your prayer strangely reminds me that of Stephen's "you stiff-necked people" speech in Acts 7. The crowd's reaction to his speech?

"...[T]hey cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him" (vv. 57-58).

(Kinda makes me glad that we don't live in Stephen's days. At least they won't stone you now--they'll just have the ACLU sue you!)

It would be far better, of course, to have Peter's audience's reaction:

"Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said..., 'Brothers, what shall we do?'" (Acts 2:37)

And now I'll read the comments and listen to what Rick Warren actually prayed (i.e., lacking the fire of your would-be prayer!).

Tim Brown said...

Amen!

lawrence said...

Any post that has a prayer so good that the giver of the prayer would've been shot in DC, AND quotes a song by Akon, knowingly or not, is an awesome post.

Susan said...

All right, I am listening to Rick Warren's prayer on Youtube again as I type--and nope, definitely doesn't have the fire as Dan's prayer. (He did put the Lord's Prayer in there and prayed in Jesus's name, but the whole "feel" is more like Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' and less like a prayer of deep soul-searching and self-abhorrence.)

Gilbert said...

Sola sez:

"If Peter Marshall was alive today and still chaplain of the Senate, I wonder what he would have prayed?"

He would have looked at Obama, pointed at him angrily and said, "Circle gets the square!!!".

Oh, wrong Peter Marshall. Sorry.

Pyros,

Thanks for a great series. I'm still not convinced any of them would have been THE home run to give, but one thing is for sure, I can't imagine God with anything but a scowl on his face on what was said today, to say the very least. And I know the prayers offered here, if nothing else, were the ones to give (or not).

Everything we have is from God. And once God removes himself from a people, game over. Granted, there's a sizable remnant in this country (relatively small compared to the population, IMO), but on the other hand, it just might be the only way to wake us up now. Things are learned best in hard times, and for Christians, in persecution...even more so then. Our Chinese brothers and sisters truly know what persecution is, and it may very well come to that here. It is so sad that we have proof of what happens when large countries turn away from God in our midst. The blindness is amazing, as is their failure to "see" that they are.

Minor disappointment: No prayer from Frank Turk. Just because he'd be surrounded by cartoon characters doesn't mean he wouldn't give a great prayer!

P.D. Nelson said...

Excellent series Dan and excellent prayer. I can't choose which I like the best.

BTW I knew there was something about you I liked and the viking helmet just clinches the deal. Vikings Rule!

DJP said...

Gilbert - Frank said in the other meta that he'd decline the invitation. He wouldn't do it.

Gilbert said...

Dan,

OK, thanks, I missed that comment.