Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Prayer in Parliament

I was checking out TVNZ's live Parliament video feed the other day, and was taken aback by the beautiful words of the prayer uttered when Parliament begins:

Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen and the public welfare, peace and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wouldn't that be a fantastic prayer to pray, if people meant it?

I was also surprised at the explicit reference to Jesus Christ. This is a deity-specific prayer, as opposed to the usual "Oh my God" you may hear sometimes.

Apparently, there's a move afoot to remove Christ's name from the prayer, and predictably there's opposition, as this article details.

It's an interview with David Major, who's had a lot of influence in the political world. A quote:
In the 1990s Mr. Major was chief executive of the National Party under Prime Ministers Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley. He said saying grace was a regular feature of dinner parties at Premier House, whereas now grace was not even said at a state banquet.

“All that’s come to a halt, and we’ve let it happen.”
I'm concerned at this attitude. As Christians, shouldn't we be more concerned that the prayer is being spoken and assented to by people who mostly don't have any relationship with God? Isn't that taking the Lord's name in vain?

So if there's a move to take Christ's name out of the official prayer, I would support it. Sadly, because the ideal is that everyone may know Christ for who He really is. But sadly, I suspect all this prayer will remind people of is New Zealand's historical roots, and a religion that used to make sense.

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