That’s what Pastor Jesse Dedel, my best friend, called Pastor Rick Warren’s prayer in the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In an e-mail he wrote, “[This] ceremonial masterpiece…was as graciously inclusive, and as non-compromisingly exclusive, as anyone could have crafted it, in all Solomonic wisdom.” (Read 1 Kings 3:16-28 to see the origin of the “Solomonic” term.) Obama’s choice of Warren provoked a tempest. There are those who warned Warren not to call on the name of the Lord Jesus so as not to offend other religions. Then there are others who even sued before the inauguration “to keep references to God out of the event.” (Source: Yahoo! News) And we are just talking about the prayer itself. Some people even attacked the person who would pray. They questioned Warren for his stance against gay rights.

When prayer time came, I believe God gave Warren both the grace and the guts to pray as he prayed. The prayer was gentle but tough, humble but hard, sensitive but strong. He even called on the name of the Lord Jesus in four languages! Through his prayer, he confronted with care people who disagreed. Instead of pointing an accusing finger to those who opposed him, Warren lumped himself along with them, asking God for forgiveness. “When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget You – 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.” ( transcript) He admitted all of us are part of the problem as well as the solution. I believe he really prayed. He did not preach in his prayer. It was a prayer meant to express faith in God, not to impress people. And I believe that that prayer reached the throne of God.

That’s what I think we should also do when we are faced with the choice either to compromise our stance or to come down hard on people. We must do neither. The Gospel is already offensive to human pride. But we can’t water it down. Yet when we present our message, we must not offend with our method (1 Peter 3:15-16). The Bible calls it speaking the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

Brethren, may we become Solomonic in our witness for God!


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