National Day of (Christian only) Prayer?

What if the National Day of Prayer meant we actually came together as a country, despite our differences and prayed together? What if we lived in a country where a kid like me wasn’t bullied for trying to participate with the Christian kids in the National Day of Prayer… because I think jesus was a nice Jewish kid who was misunderstood?

So I there has been a lot of conversation about the National Day of Prayer and all that hoopla. Officially, today is the “National Day of Prayer.” Initially, sounds cool, right? It’s like National Badge Day where all the Panhellenic Sororities get to show off their membership to the world…

Actually, maybe it is more like badge day than I initially thought. The National Day of Prayer, it turns out is pretty exclusive. Now on one hand I was a proponent because I felt it was cool, get everyone from every religion to pray for peace and safety and health on the same day. Maybe we can all realize we are the same, no matter what language we use to speak to G-d (Allah or God or Hashem etc…)

Uhm. But that is not the case.

I thought the judge who decided it was unconstitutional was kinda right but hey, here’s nice idea for everyone, get them praying to whatever. I’ve heard many Jews say it’s not a day for us, their reasoning? We pray (or are supposed to) three times a day, one hundred prayers daily. Right we don’t need to stop what we are doing to pray. But we can all come together, right?

Uhm. No. Guess not.

Maybe my idealistic brain was running away with my compassionate heart. Clearly, that is not what is happening here. The point is to exclude non-Christians. Just like that event in high school called “See You At The Pole.” Remember that? One day a year they met at the flag pole to pray. Yeah, I made the mistake in my tiny, overly Christian and overly anti-Jewish town (where I went to high school) to try and join them for the praying at the pole. I was purposefully excluded from the circle and told I wasn’t invited to participate… unless I accepted jesus. Cool. So pretty much National Day of Prayer, or at least as it is nationally organized, is just these kids grown up.

Their mission? (From their website) “The National Day of Prayer Task Force’s mission is to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America and its leadership in the seven centers of power: Government, Military, Media, Business, Education, Church and Family.” 

Vision and Values? “In accordance with Biblical truth, the National Day of Prayer Task Force seeks to:

  • Foster unity within the Christian Church
  • Protect America’s Constitutional Freedoms to gather, worship, pray and speak freely.
  • Publicize and preserve America’s Christian heritage
  • Encourage and emphasize prayer, regardless of current issues and positions
  • Respect all people, regardless of denomination or creed
  • Be wise stewards of God’s resources and provision
  • Glorify the Lord in word and deed”
  • Now, they have to have an official statement about their “Judeo-Christian” values and that anyone can organize their own thing but this is how they organize. Well interesting. So this is the leading lobby for the National Day of Prayer. No wonder other people’s views are being ignored. It is only their voices that are being heard. Guess it can get pretty confusing when you say, on your website, that you are the “Official Site” of the 59th Annual Observance of the National Day of Prayer.

    So I get it, we pray everyday but wouldn’t it be cool if we had a national voice too? And wouldn’t it be cool if kids like me were allowed to join the prayer circle? And wouldn’t it be cool if kids like me weren’t asked to leave the lunchtime bible study at their public high schools because they are “confusing” the other kids and making it hard for them to learn the “truth?” (Yeah, that really happened… I guess 14 was too young to have interfaith conversations…)

    Ah well… guess in my dream world.