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Saturday, January 24, 2009
Rick Warren's Inauguration Invocation

I've heard mixed reviews on the invocation offered by Rick Warren at the recent inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama. Not that I'm in the business of reviewing prayers, but this was a particularly interesting one and a quite unique situation. I will print the text of the prayer below (as transcribed) and invite observations, analysis and other ponderings about the prayer, it's features, it's perceived appropriateness and so forth.  Did he hit the mark or miss the moment? Because actual words make up only 10% of communication, take a look at the short clip capturing the prayer above.

Let us pray.
Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can't see exists because of you alone. It all comes from you, it all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story.
The Scripture tells us Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God; the Lord is one. And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
Now today we rejoice not only in America's peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time. We celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.
We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership.
And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven.
Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.
When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the Earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.
And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all.
May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.
We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life, Yeshua, Isa, Jesus, Jesus (hay-SOOS), who taught us to pray, Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Still to come-- Bishop Gene Robinson's prayer and Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowry's benediction prayer. 

And don't forget about the YARDSALE. you won't believe what's out there now. 
posted by John David Walt | at 1/24/2009 03:00:00 PM



Anonymous John said...

He hit the Judeo-Christian contingent with the Shema and the Lord's Prayer. I'm guessing "Isa" is the Muslim name for Jesus? Ending with the Lord's Prayer seemed like a good way to include most anyone who has ever been to church. Although, cynic that I am, my thought when I heard him start was wondering if he did that just so he could hear 1.5 million people praying with him.

Lowery's prayer, especially the ending, was magnificent.

8:44 AM EST  
Anonymous chris vicious said...

oh JD. what did you think about this statement in the prayer:

"And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in Heaven."

i love the sentiment in it, but does ole rick really know what's going on in heaven? and does he really think that the eternal souls in paradise are applauding secular and civil election results?

hate to be a cynic ;) but not sure the theology is entirely accurate on that piece of the prayer.

keep sticking it to the man~~~

4:05 PM EST  
Blogger Aaron Perry said...

I thought he did a great job--exhibiting both humility and courage, which was something very difficult to do under such scrutiny.

11:33 PM EST  
Blogger JAy. said...

I give him credit for sticking to his Christian background. He didn't water down or hide his beliefs in an effort to not offend.

That said, it seemed to me to be a bit off point. I would have preferred a simplified request for blessing over the nation and the government.

And finally, props for getting the praise for a peaceful transition of power. Great reminder to us all!

5:09 PM EST  

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