Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Secularization of Prayer

I was in a print shop the other day and while I waited for my order to be completed, I stood in the lobby amidst several examples of this shop's work. One particular vinyl banner caught my eye. Although I have no idea what Eliza's Wish Foundation is, what struck me was the obvious prayer connotations on this banner. She is looking up, hands together under her chin, just as every child learns to pray at a very young age. So what's missing in this picture? For starters, Christ. Beyond that, how about any mention of prayer or God at all.

We live in a world where prayer is viewed as tantamount to wishing upon a star, as the little girl in this photo is doing. Eliza's Wish Foundation may indeed be a wonderfully helpful organization, but what glory is there to God when the world wishes for hope yet has no Savior to hope in. What hope is left when the world wishes upon a star, but never prays in the name of the Son. Most importantly, why is there still a world of lost people still wishing on stars (i.e. praying to idols) while the church sits stoic in it's four walls on the corner.

As believers, do we see the parody? Does the sight of a seemingly innocent little girl praying to a star for the hope of needy people everywhere give us any conviction that God is being robbed of His due glory. If anywhere the power of prayer is unknown, the problem begins in the Church. Do we know the power of prayer? Do we employ the power of prayer? As I myself am admittedly weak in the discipline of prayer, my wife and I have started reading "With Christ in the School of Prayer" by Andrew Murray. My prayer for my wife and I is that we learn from Christ Himself how to pray, how to remain confident in the Father's goodness, and how to use prayer to glorify His name in our lives.

What struck me in this photo is not the connotation to prayer itself, that much is not surprising at all, but it's the belief that a little girl's wish on a star is more effectual for meeting the needs of the world than the prayer of God's children to their Father. My concern is not that Eliza's Wish Foundation is doing too little prayer, it's that the Church is. My charge is not to Eliza's Wish Foundation to pray more and convert to a Christian mission, it's for the Church to meet the needs of the world in such a powerful way that those in need would have one true hope in God.

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