First of all, I want to say that I want to be very careful to not be critical or judgmental toward Don Miller. I know he loves Jesus and is a Christian. I think he meant the best when he accepted the invitation to pray and when he actually said the prayer. I’m not a Democrat, but I’m not hard-lined Republican either. I love the poor, minorities, single moms, and to some extent the environment (but you won’t find me worshiping trees ever). I love diversity and change and new ways of thinking. But I also love free enterprise, market economy, the sanctity of life, biblical morality, and having a strong military and using it when needed.
For the prayer itself, some was biblical. Much of it was vague. Miller prayed and expressed God’s heart to move in the lives of the lesser-thans, the poor, the orphans and widows, the disenfranchised, the uneducated. He said, “God, we know that you are good” and “Even in our diversity help us see how much we have in common.” I agree with those statements. I affirm that they are biblical things to say. He also prayed, “Help us figure out the balance between economic opportunity and corporate gluttony.” I like that line. We are white-collared crooks here in America, unlike other areas of the world, and it needs to change.
But I have some concerns about things that Miller left out. The problem wasn’t what Miller said. It was the vagueness in what he said; and it was what he failed to say. Furthermore, I feel that Miller prayed a party-platform prayer. He prayed, “Help us figure out how to pay teachers what they deserve and give children an equal opportunity to get a college education.” Is that what our children need, really? Don’t they need a relaionship with the Lord Jesus? A college education never made any truly satisfied. There is more to life than school. It took me 21 years to learn that. They need parents to love them and care for them. They need to be protected from freaks and perverts. They need to grow up in a country where the dollar is not god.
“A lot of people don’t like us but that’s because they don’t know the heart of the average American.” Our hearts can be good, yes, in the sense that we want to raise families, work hard, and help people, but in reality, they are totally evil and in need of a Savior. I would like to ask Don what he meant by this. The Bible would certainly say otherwise. Jesus said that out of the heart flow evil thoughts and intentions.
Finally, the end of the prayer is still hard to wrap my mind around: “I make these requests in the name of your son, Jesus, who gave his own life against the forces of injustice. Let Him be our example.” I am thrilled that Don used the name of Jesus! Praise God! It makes people uncomfortable. However, what are the forces of injustice that Miller is referring to? Is it the injustice that was just mentioned in the prayer? Or, Lord willing, Miller meant the injustice of cosmic treason that we have committed against the Living God and that we deserve condemnation and damnation. For some reason, I doubt it’s the latter. I wish Miller would have said that Jesus came to free us from the injustice we have committed against God because of sin.
Finally, I think the Bible shows that Jesus is not just our example. He is, certainly, but he is primarily a Holy King and General, worthy to be treasured, who says, “Take up your cross and follow me.” He is the Fountain of life who proclaims, “All who are thirsty come and take the water of life without price.” He is a the Good Shepherd who reasons, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” He is a Savior with an outstretched arm who cries, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus is only called our “example” one time in all of Scripture. The context? Suffering. First Peter 2:21 says, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” I doubt any of the people at the DNC last night had that in mind when Miller prayed. Jesus is man acquainted with sorrows, who knows grief, and understands pain. He’s calling us to join him in suffering, not only against social injustice, but the injustice in my own heart that wants pleasure and selfish satisfaction. Jesus wants us to suffer in the battle against evil, first and foremost against the evil in my own life. My prayer is that the DNC would realize that and would come know and love Jesus.
You cannot separate politics and God — last night showed that. There’s no perfect party or perfect politician. Are there some better than others? I’d by lying if I said No. However, let’s be honest here. Last night, a man stood up on stage, in front of Democrats no less, and prayed to “Father God” and “in the name of Jesus.” He wasn’t praying to Allah or Buddha or Confucious. He was praying to Jehovah, Yahweh, El Shaddai — the God of the Bible. He prayed to Jesus, the central figure in human history. I think the DNC knew he’d pray “in Jesus’ name.” Just the fact that the DNC invited Miller is astounding. This shows that politics, just like everything else, is about God.
Who’s vote will determine this election in November? Evangelicals. Who is Obama targeting in this election? Evangelicals.
I don’t think that’s a coincidence.