Praying in the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ
May 3rd is the National Day of Prayer in the U.S. Earlier, President George Bush proclaimed to the whole country that a prayerful spirit has been an important part of their national character since its founding, and he urged the citizens to pray and offer thanks together on that day, petitioning to God on behalf of the country for His guidance, comfort and protection. At the same time, a contrary incident occurred at a high school in the city of Vancouver in Washington State. 12 students were suspended by the administration after conducting a prayer meeting inside the school. The affair began when 12 students took it upon themselves to gather together just before classes to pray in the cafeteria. When the vice-principal received a complaint from a Satanist student, ordered them to stop, and met with their refusal, he huffily punished them with suspension. After the intervention of Liberty Counsel, the matter was resolved and the students were allowed to resume classes. The school promised that their academic records would not be affected. According to the settlement obtained by Liberal Counsel, praying inside school property is not an illegal activity. Students are only exercising their constitutional right to gather and pray (because the school would not permit their forming a prayer club), just as they would to discuss sports, music or movies, and cannot be condemned. The representing counsel lamented, ˇ§In these days filled with school violence, it is rare for students to gather of their own accord to pray for their community and country. What the school administration should be stopping is school violence, not prayer.ˇ¨
The above is one of the rare instances of a successful arbitration. The current American Constitution looks upon praying as a religious ceremony. To maintain the principle of separation of church and state, praying is not permitted within government-funded public schools. This includes school-sponsored student gatherings, convocations, and the beginning and end of all sports events. Also, Christian teachers may not lead students to pray inside their classrooms. Therefore, the testimony of Christian teachers and students within a public school is restricted to personal contacts, and cannot be carried out in the open. That is because the attacks of Satan on Christians through those opposed to Jesus Christ have never stopped.
As well, do not be misled that President George Bush is more reverential than other presidents. Although he publicly encouraged his citizens to pray together, if we read his proclamation for the National day of Prayer carefully, we will discover that he craftily shied away from offending other religions while still inducing Christians to find his words appropriate. He said, ˇ§Americans of many faiths and traditions share a common belief that God hears the prayers of His children and shows grace to those who seek Him.ˇ¨ Do we really believe that Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs etc would pray to the Heavenly Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are the gods they believe in the same as the Jesus Christ we believe in? Are they all children of God? It is the same as the government of Hong Kong, prior to 1997, appealing to and making arrangements for all religious leaders to pray to the god they believed in to bless Hong Kongˇ¦s future.
During the American War of Independence, President George Washington established the National day of Prayer for the sake of the countryˇ¦s stability and safety of its citizens. Its purpose was to call upon all countrymen to pray together in the name of Jesus Christ to the one true God in Heaven, to bestow His blessings on and protect the nation. At that time, many founding fathers who feared God lived according to the teachings of the Bible. So God listened to their prayers and bestowed His blessings on them. Nowadays, if people do not recognize that Christ is the one true God, do not do just and righteous things, and do not pray to the Heavenly Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, where would be the basis on which God would listen to their prayers? Yet, we should all petition, pray, intercede and give thanks on behalf of the countryˇ¦s government and all its people. For that is the teaching of the Bible for Christians.
ˇ§And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command.ˇ¨ (John 14:13-15)
By: Daniel To