Last Thursday, as I was on my way to attend a National Day of Prayer event that was being held outside of the football stadium in downtown Minneapolis, I wondered if there might actually be protesters present. There were but they were not the people I would have expected to see. It was a small group of ten or 15 people who identified themselves as Christians. They had gathered across the street around a small sound system and some of them also carried signs.
What were they protesting? Well, being near the back of the plaza, I caught snatches of what they were saying now and then. First of all, they did not like it that we began with a time of worship. Apparently they believed that if Christians were worshipping God they had a watered-down, feel-good, fluffy relationship with God. Christians shouldn't be joyful, they should be angry I guess.
They didn't like it one bit when hundreds of voices were raised asking God to move upon the hearts of our leaders as well as our people. Didn't we know that these were godless people who deserved exactly what they were going to get? We shouldn't pray for them. We needed to fight against them! We needed to call down fire from Heaven upon them! If we reached out to them in love, we were following the world and compromising the Gospel. They denounced the call for unity among Christians and the hope that next year 60,000 Christians would gather together inside the stadium to pray for our families, our communities, our nation and our world.
Several times since then, I have been approached by others who attended that event, wondering what my thoughts were about the situation. Like myself, they were troubled and saddened that the only people who were protesting a public prayer meeting were people who professed to be followers of Jesus Christ.
As Christians should we pray for our communities and even our leaders? Yes! Should we pray for unity within the Body of Christ? Absolutely! Are we living in a fallen world that is destined for destruction? Yes we are but we are still called to go out into the world as witnesses of Jesus Christ, letting our light shine and share the Good News. We are still called to pray!
During the last 30 minutes, the protesters fell silent. I hope that the words being spoken during that time penetrated their hearts and later that night I said a prayer for them as well as all of us. May we truly be followers of Christ, not just with our words or actions but with our whole hearts.