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How to Pray Like an American: Asking God for Cheaper Gas

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Our Father,
Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be our gains
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth, as we perceive heaven
Give us, this day, a week’s worth of bread
And forgive us our trespasses
… whatever that means
Ignore our empire of temptation
And be our scapegoat for evil
For Thine is the kingdom
And the power,

Goes the story,
Until everything’s better. Amen.

God hears our prayers – all of them – but sometimes I wonder if we do.

Pastor Marshall Mabry will be leading his Georgia congregation in a prayer vigil this weekend … at a gas station.

The media, of course, has picked up on one of three scheduled requests, and made it the headline: Praying for lower gas prices. Pastor Mabry explained to CNN’s Carol Costello that they will pray for three things:

  • Stabilization of the U.S. economy
  • Peace in the Middle East
  • Lower gas prices

And all the Americans said … “Amen.”

Is God able to do those things? Absolutely. Are they biblical prayers? Yes. Would anyone in his right mind object to a prayer meeting based on that schedule? Heaven forbid.

But is this really what the American Church rallies around? Are these the most important things we have to talk to our Creator and Savior about? When we gather together, as the body of Christ on the earth until His second coming, is the security of our American Dream really the best we can do?

Christians in North Korea, India, China, Eritrea, Iran, and Nigeria pray for things like strength to continue in their faith despite severe persecution, loved ones who disappeared in prison systems, and mercy for their jailers. Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry that serves and supports persecuted Christians all over the world, recently quoted a Lebanese Church-Planter’s prayer request:

“Please pray for the safety of the believers here and courage to preach the cross of Christ. If we aren’t willing to suffer and die for His Name’s sake, then we do not deserve to be called Christians.”

And Christians in America pray that we wouldn’t have to down-size our lifestyles, or move out of our comfort zones, or pay more than we’re accustomed to in order to fill up our gas tanks.

Maybe this is just the prayer meeting that got picked up by the media because it touches a common nerve, because it yields a good headline about silly Christians, or because it’s going down – for the third time – in public. Maybe. Maybe churches all over the U.S. are hosting and promoting prayer meetings for persecuted believers in the Middle East, and for wisdom and discernment for our President, and for Osama Bin Laden’s salvation.

I’m not interested in giving Pastor Mabry a hard time about it, either. I’m sure he and his congregation are good people who love God and are doing their best. I’m all for a stable economy, and peace, and lower gas prices. I’m just saying: Do we hear ourselves sometimes?

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  • Amy@AiA

    We definitely do not hear ourselves. People fail to recognize that high gas prices are good, in the long run, because it forces innovative technology to emerge. It’s sad that we need a crisis to get ourselves in gear!

    I also do not feel that it is a pastor’s place to be leading a congregation in this type of activity. Perhaps their time would be better spent coming up with carpool schedules or something like that to reduce their dependence on using up so much gas.