Joel Hunter's Benediction
Yes, he prayed in Jesus' name. But I don't think I've ever seen that long of a preface to praying in Jesus' name.
Not familiar with Joel Hunter? Francis FitzGerald had a recent profile in The New Yorker that's worth reading.
A transcript of the benediction after the jump, along with a few words from Hunter's blog about why he accepted the invitation to give the benediction even though he's a Republican.
We are all here to devote ourselves to the improvement of this country we love. In one of the best traditions of our country, would those of you who are people of faith join me in asking for God's help?
Almighty God, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us a reverence for all life. Give us a compassion for the most vulnerable among us. The babies. The children. The poor. The sick. The enslaved. The persecuted. For all of those who have been left out of the advantaged world.
Give us a zeal to clean the environment we have polluted while we create an economy where everyone who can work can have a job. Help us to honor those who defend our country by working harder and smarter for peace. Help us to counter those that incite fear and hatred by becoming people who are informed and respectful and are known for the principles and projects that aim higher than merely our own group's benefit.
Guide Barack Obama and all of our leaders to be agents of your will and recipients of your wisdom. And grant that all of us citizens will continually do our part to contribute to the common good so that we can truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Now I interrupt this prayer for a closing instruction. I want to personalize this. I want this to be a participatory prayer. And so therefore, because we are in a country that is still welcoming all faiths, I would like all of us to close this prayer in the way your faith tradition would close your prayer.
So on the count of three, I want all of you to end this prayer, your prayer, the way you usually end prayer. You ready? One, two, three.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
Let's go change the world for good.
"Because I was asked. ... As Evangelicals, we need to make ourselves available, because the church has untold resources that can help solve the problems of the world. Jesus told us to "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Matthew 22:21). I've always believed that when our elected leaders call upon us and we answer, that we are fulfilling that command from Scripture. That is why I accepted their gracious invitation. I would accept an invitation from the Republicans as well, or any major government activity that would feature prayer, as was included in the founding of our country. ... I'm not endorsing either candidate. I'm encouraging people to voice and vote their values as I always have.