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Archive for January 22nd, 2008

Ron Sider’s Prayer

Ron SiderOne of the great joys of being a journalist is that you get to talk to all sorts of interesting and important people and ask them impertinent questions. Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Sider about his forthcoming book, “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why Are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World?” for a short piece for Publishers Weekly. Mr. Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action, is one of the founders of the progressive evangelical movement and a thoughtful Christian. He is the author of “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger” a book that, when it appeared in 1977, sent shock waves through the Christian community and led to a major rethinking, in many circles, of what a truly Christian life should look like. We talked for about 30 minutes about the subject of his new book, what a biblically-balanced political philosophy for American evangelicals could and should look like (think more concern about poverty and justice and less about personal morality). At the end of the interview, I asked if I might ask him a totally unrelated question. Being the classy guy and gentleman that he is, he said certainly. “Do you, by any chance, use prayer beads in your personal prayer practice,” I asked. I knew this was a long shot, as most evangelicals would be suspicious of such a practice. Mr. Sider said he did not use prayer beads. Like any good journalist, I had a follow-up question: “May I ask you what is your favorite prayer?”

He was very quick with his response, perhaps because a good prayer is ever close at hand. “My favorite prayer comes from second Cornithians 3:18 where Paul says that with unveiled face we look directly into the face of Christ and reflect his glory as in a mirror and are day by day being transformed into the image of Christ.”

Here’s the scripture he’s referring to:

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (NIV)
“So my prayer,” Mr. Sider continued, “which comes from that, is, ‘Lord, please make me more like you.'”

I like it. Short and simple, direct and strainghtfoward. Easy to remember, too. A good prayer for weeks or decades beads, or any other bead on any set of prayer beads you may come up with.

The same day I interviewed Mr. Sider, I also spoke with Jim Wallis, another titan of the progressive evangelical movement. I’ll write about his response to my question in a future post.

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