#NationalDayofPrayer Reflections

Today was #NationalDayofPrayer. The idea kind of makes me bristle. The verse from Matthew 6 comes to mind:

When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

It seems like the synagogues and street corners have been replaced by hashtags, and that many of the people participating in the National Day of Prayer seem to worship the country, the Republican Party, fetuses, flags and eagles more than they worship God, and if you don’t mention Jesus in your prayer, it just doesn’t count.

This is met by cynical militant atheists with a #NationalDayofReason which seems to worship rationality and hostility at the expense of anything beautiful. I’m surprised I haven’t seen Hume’s quote, “Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames” Those who studied empiricism have already committed that quote to the flames.

In contrast to all of this, I have friends who are very devote who post about their prayers online. These are the people that pray for peace, justice, healing and reconciliation. They provide an important contrast to those who pray or reason in hashtags.

So, my first tweet for #NationalDayofPrayer was

This ‪#‎NationalDayofPrayer‬ I'm praying that we protect creation, love all people, and help the less fortunate.

I followed this by a tweet noting that “‪#‎NationalDayofPrayer‬ is also National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day” and a link to a video about the beauty if the Muslim call to prayer.

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