March 25, 2013: Can Prayer Change the Supreme Court’s Decision?

Posted on : Mar 25th, 2013 | By | Category: Still Speaking

“In all things, pray without ceasing…”

Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.   [I Thessalonians 5: 13-22]

The writer of I Thessalonians encourages us to “pray without giving up.”  In other words, keep praying.  Don’t lose heart.  Don’t give up.  Keep on praying.

Last week I received an email informing me that the Family Research Council – a far right, anti-gay pseudo-Christian organization – is giving its members “prayer targets” surrounding the Supreme Court’s consideration of DOMA and Prop 8, asking them to pray that Ted Olson and David Boies “present their arguments in an inept, confusing and unconvincing way” and “fail to gain traction in the minds of the Justices.”

Here’s the actual text:

May the attorneys defending traditional marriage (see AFC Prayer Guide) be given anointing, clarity, effectiveness, conviction and persuasiveness in presenting their arguments. May traditional marriage prevail in the minds of a strong majority of the justices, and may traditional marriage be reaffirmed as the law of the land (Pr 16:1, 11; 25; 18:17; 21:3; Is 9:7; Mt 19:4-6; 2 Cor 5:11).

May those arguing on behalf of same-sex “marriage” present their arguments in an inept, confusing and unconvincing way. May they fail to gain traction in the minds of the Justices. May the right of Californians to amend their state constitution to protect marriage be confirmed by the Court, and may the Defense of Marriage Act be ruled constitutional (Lev 20:all; 1 Sam 2:8-10; 2 Chr 14:11; 20:12-27; Pr 22:28; 24:21; Is 8:18-20; Dan 7:25-27; 2 Cor 2:5).

I have to confess: I laughed when I read the “tease” but after I read both of those prayers, I felt deep sorrow for those who were being asked to pray like that.   Of all the verses in the bible they have referenced, the two most important ones about prayer are both missing.  One of them is the teaching from I Thessalonians 5 which is above.  The other is Jesus teaching the disciples “how to pray.”  That’s the prayer we pray together every Sunday:  “Our Loving God…”

Here’s the thing:  Prayer is not a wish list.  It’s not about “getting our own way with God.”  It’s a process of evolving conscious connection with God.  Some people call that “discerning the will of God” others refer to it as becoming more “God-like.”   The apostle Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5, that prayer is a process of entering into the “heart” of God.  It’s seeking God’s will for the good of all.  It’s letting our hearts become one with God’s heart – the source we attribute to the deepest place of love in our lives.

It really is disingenuous and wrong to pray that the attorneys representing the position you don’t agree with will “present their arguments in an inept, confusing and unconvincing way.”

I believe in prayer.  I believe in the power of prayer.  I am praying for all of the attorneys and justices and all the people whose lives will be affected by this decision.  I’m praying for wisdom, and insight, not ineptness.  I’m praying for clarity and the courage to stand for one’s convictions, not confusion and bumbling.

This week as we follow Jesus to the cross, two things become clear.  One is that a lot of the stuff religious people say Jesus said and stands for ISN’T what Jesus said or stands for.  That’s called “bearing false witness.”  The other is that even Jesus facing those who would put him to death, prays for them and that God’s will be done, not what he wants.

That’s the spirit of prayer I hope you enter into for all the attorneys and the justices of our Supreme Court as they hear arguments, deliberate and decide the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).



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