Pray­ing for rain

The Covington News - - RELIGION -

“We’ve come to­gether here sim­ply for one rea­son and one rea­son only: To very rev­er­ently and re­spect­fully pray up a storm.” Gov­er­nor Sonny Per­due made this an­nounce­ment at the State Cap­i­tal, Tues­day af­ter­noon, Nov. 13, at a gath­er­ing of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers and min­is­ters. A na­tional news or­ga­ni­za­tion cov­ered the meet­ing and posted their re­port onto their web page. Read­ers on­line can add a com­ment on the var­i­ous sto­ries. Few get more than a dozen com­ments. By 10 a.m. Wed­nes­day morn­ing, there were 281 com­ments on the Gov­er­nor Per­due prayer meet­ing. Here are a few of them.

• “I am glad some­one in power is not afraid to ask God openly for help. Good for him!”

• “What do you ex­pect from the deep south?”

• “If all we have to do is ask God for things like rain then why you don’t just pray for food, cloth­ing, health care, ed­u­ca­tion, wa­ter etc... No­body has to ac­tu­ally work.”

• “This is a cheap pub­lic­ity stunt. Me­te­o­rol­o­gists are call­ing for rain on Wed­nes­day!” • “What if it doesn’t rain?” • “In­stead of vi­o­lat­ing the sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State, why wasn’t the Gov­er­nor im­ple­ment­ing wa­ter­con­serv­ing poli­cies and ne­go­ti­at­ing wa­ter sources.”

• “It’s not cor­rect to think you can only pray and not act, or you can only act and not pray. You can do both.”

• “It works! We just had some rain here in Ten­nessee.”

• “God is al­ready aware of the sit­u­a­tion in Ge­or­gia. No need to ask for any­thing.”

• “This is the dumb­est approach to solv­ing a real prob­lem!”

• “If the Ge­or­gians pray too much will it flood?”

• “I know God is real and I think he has a great sense of hu­mor. Wouldn’t it be funny if it rained on the pro­test­ers?”

I agree with the first and sev­enth com­ments. With re­gards to the fifth, it will rain, even­tu­ally. With re­gards to the sixth, this is not a vi­o­la­tion of the sep­a­ra­tion be­tween church and state; or, if it is, Pur­due in good com­pany.

In 1789 Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton wrote,

“It is the duty of all Na­tions to ac­knowl­edge the prov­i­dence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grate­ful for his ben­e­fits, and humbly to im­plore his pro­tec­tion and fa­vor.”

In 1863 Abra­ham Lin­coln wrote, “We have been the re­cip­i­ents of the choic­est boun­ties of Heaven. We have grown in num­bers, wealth and power, as no other na­tion has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. …. In­tox­i­cated with un­bro­ken suc­cess, we have be­come too self-suf­fi­cient to feel the ne­ces­sity of re­deem­ing and pre­serv­ing grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It be­hooves us then, to hum­ble our­selves, to con­fess our na­tional sins, and to pray for cle­mency and for­give­ness.”

In 1944, Franklin De­lano Roo­sevelt wrote, “My Fel­low Amer­i­cans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that mo­ment that troops of the United States and our Al­lies were cross­ing the Chan­nel in an­other and greater op­er­a­tion. It has come to pass with suc­cess thus far. And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our na­tion, this day have set upon a mighty en­deavor, a strug­gle to pre­serve our Repub­lic, our re­li­gion, and our civ­i­liza­tion, and to set free a suf­fer­ing hu­man­ity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stout­ness to their hearts, stead­fast­ness in their faith.”

Th­ese great pres­i­dents have set the pat­tern. It is in­deed right and ap­pro­pri­ate for the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship in Amer­ica to ask for God’s bless­ings. Pres­i­dent Lin­coln even did more than this. He asked for the peo­ple to change. His call to re­pen­tance is a re­minder that prayer is more than ask­ing for what we want; real prayer is also to ask what does God want? If the Gov­er­nor of Ge­or­gia is go­ing to ask the Lord for rain, then he ought to also be ask­ing how Ge­or­gians can serve God bet­ter.

John Donaldson


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