A prayer for a social revolution

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God … Continued

Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell told the Christian Broadcasting Network last week that that she believes it was God plan for her to campaign and ultimately, to win:

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”



How should constituents interpret statements by politicians who see their campaigns and causes as part of God’s plan? How do you decipher God’s intentions for you?

“God continued to strengthen and empower us when, you know, His strength is perfected in our weakness. And that’s what’s exciting because you see, that if it weren’t for faith, when all logic said it’s time to quit, we pursued. We marched on because we knew God was not releasing us to quit. And now with such an important lame duck session you realize why we were to endure all that stuff.”

While we’re on the subject of politics and prayer, allow me to state the obvious: It works both ways. Prayer hasn’t always been the province of the political oppressor. It hasn’t always been used to protect the interests of the wealthier-than-thou.

My favorite Bible story about prayer is one that doesn’t seem on its surface to have anything to do with it. In that story the young shepherd boy David goes out to face the Philistine giant armed only with his shepherd’s sling and “five smooth stones.”

When it becomes apparent that only David has the courage to battle Goliath, King Saul offers the boy his armor. The boy refuses to wear it, however. It’s too heavy and cumbersome. Saul then offers his sword, but David can barely lift it. In the end, he tells the king that God will help him defeat the giant, just as he has helped him to prevail over the lion and the bear who threatened his flock. He never mentions prayer, but it’s clear that is what he is referring to.

The five stones David selects from the brook that morning are, each one of them, a solemn, humble prayer. It only takes a quiet mind to see the pure simplicity of this. True, David is good with the sling. And yes, that weapon allows him the only chance he’s got against a seasoned warrior like Goliath–to strike from a greater distance than the giant can hurl his spear. Nevertheless, it is impossible to imagine they aren’t prayed over, those stones. It is impossible to think that he hasn’t palmed each one carefully, testing its heft and moral weight. And, sure enough, when he goes forth to fight the Philistine a few verses later, one of them finds its mark.

I don’t remember exactly when I gave up my prayer beads and started using stones instead. I’ll only say that at some point several years ago I realized two things more or less at once: (1) That there were a lot of giants out there in the world that desperately needed slaying. (2) You can’t slay a giant with a giant, That was when I gave up all tamer forms of spiritual and political practice and took up prayer instead.

The first truth was easy enough to grasp. Even if you managed to get snookered by Reagan, by the time Cheney & Co. made thier bed with Blackwater it was clear we were entering an era of all-Philistine, all-the-time. The second truth was a lot harder for us spiritual progressives to grasp. It took Barack to teach us that you can defeat a giant with a giant, and still have a giant on your hands. That is why I say now it’s time to bring out the stones.

Don’t get me wrong. The corporate giant won’t be brought down with a few well-placed pebbles–tempting as it might be to jam the works up a bit. We will defeat it only because we finally want it bad enough to ask God to bring it down. I know that a lot of my more liberal, progressive-minded colleagues will fiind it quaint that I am advocating prayer as the basis for a social revolution. But that is exactly what I am doing. I have learned that it isn’t going to happen in any other way.

Let the Bible thumpers have their prayer, too, if they want it. Let them recite the Lord’s Prayer and all Ten Commandments on the steps of the House if they like that kind of thing. I honestly don’t care. Me? I’m praying to bring down British Petroleum, all health insurance companies presently making a profit for their shareholders, and every Blue Dog Dem within a sling throw of where I stand. I’m willing to go without armor into that battle. And I refuse to carry a sword. But my prayers are hard as basalt at this point. And they’re becoming rounder and more perfect by the day.

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  • overcomerman

    God’s plan for Congress is described in my new book