Thursday, May 04, 2006

Out of the Closet

Today is the declared "National Day of Prayer," the day when all Christians are encouraged to follow the specific teachings of Jesus on prayer, which are:
Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the houses of worship and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your closet and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. [Matthew 6:5-6]
But what's this from the YMC[hristian]A of Middle Tennessee?
Local events will include the "Downtown Expression," a dynamic time of prayer and fellowship featuring Nicole C. Mullen, 11:30am to 12:30pm on the plaza of the Gaylord Entertainment Center.
If the "Y" is Christian, why are they encouraging prayers to come out of the closet? And there's this photo from last year's "Downtown Expression" in today's Tennessean:

Maybe I had it wrong when I said that Christians are encouraged to follow Jesus on the matter of Christian prayer. But a second look at this national ritual and its sponsors seems to suggest that this is more about hubris and pride than it is about prayer. The logo for the day has an American flag with no reference to prayer:

There's also a National Day of Prayer NASCAR, which suggests that the day is much ado about either self-promotion or political mobilization:

You know that part about Jesus, prayer and the closet? Never mind it today. The National Day of Posturing is more about coming out of the closet than it is about staying in it to pray. But do keep in mind what Jesus said about those those whom he called "hypocrites," who come out in public to pray: they have already received their reward.

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