“Prayer is essential. Faith is powerful. Non-believers and skeptics cannot comprehend the concept of literally asking God for His guidance and blessing. This is not surprising nor is it, in itself, offensive. When the lack of understanding turns into sneers and insults, usually coupled with a lack of basic knowledge about the evangelical Christian faith, we have a duty to respond.”
So proclaims Jordan Sekuklow in the Washington Post‘s On Faith section.
He is responding to a rather cynical attack on public exercise of faith by Frank Bruni of the New York Times. Bruni was commenting on “The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis,” a recent gathering initiated by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who, Sekulow notes, asked the crowd to pray for President Obama.
“I am writing this because I am a Christian,” responds Sekulow. “Bruni writes that, ‘Seeking relief from the country’s woes through a louder, more ardent appeal to God strikes us [the news media] as too much hope invested in too magical a solution. It suspends disbelief and defies rigorous reason.’”
Oh, ye of little faith! Sekulow could not disagree more:
This kind of appeal to God is exactly what we are instructed to do, especially in a time of crisis. The Book of Joel, in the portion read by Governor Perry, tells us to:
Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber. Let the priests, who minister before the LORD, weep between the portico and altar. Let them say, “Spare your people, LORD. Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn, a byword among the nations. Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’” Then the LORD was jealous for his land and took pity on his people.
Jesus affirmed the power of assembly, teaching that, “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Bruni does not understand prayer, thinks that it is a waste of time, and implies that those of us who take prayer seriously are foolish. Here you might be asking, “Well Jordan, why all the fuss? Isn’t this what we have learned to expect from a liberal-leaning columnist?”
Yes, but Bruni did not stop there. He steps up his assault on faith and prayer in the last paragraph of the column: