Like many other Christian right groups, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is encouraging its members to say prayers, at a specific time (the morning of the oral argument at the Supreme Court) and in a specific manner.
We are inviting you to join other organizations and churches that will set aside time on the morning of April 28 at 10 a.m. EDT to appeal to God to preserve marriage in our land. You can help us spread the word by changing the avatar on your social media accounts and posting with the hashtag #PrayForMarriage.
Here’s a sample prayer guide:
- God designed marriage as a way to prosper creation and to reflect his gospel (Gen. 2; Rom. 13; Eph. 5). Pray that all people, including governing authorities, would honor the institution of marriage.
- God can turn the hearts and minds of the justices to do his will (Prov. 21:1). Pray for the Supreme Court justices, that they would be receptive to the arguments being made passionately before them.
- God can guide the mind and speech (Exod. 4:11-12). Pray for lead attorneys who will be arguing on behalf of the states seeking to uphold marriage. Ask God to give them clarity and wisdom, for their arguments to be persuasive, and for God to give them favor before the justices.
- God can give understanding to make sound decisions (Prov. 2:6-8). Pray for those who disagree with us, that God would help them understand and respect the opinions of those whose definition of marriage is grounded in the biblical witness.
- God is sovereign (Gen. 50:20). We ought to pray and hope for the best but plan for what Justice Scalia predicted in 2013: “As far as this Court is concerned, no one should be fooled; it is just a matter of listening and waiting for the other shoe.” Even in the event of a bad decision, marriage will always be what marriage truly is.
This raises so many questions. Are prayers offered at a specific time more likely to be answered than at other times? Do they have to hit a certain number of people praying before God will listen, like the White House petition page? If they don’t follow this guide and just ad lib their prayers, are they less effective? And what about all the people praying for the opposite result? How will we know which side got their wish? And will the side that doesn’t get their wish admit that their prayers didn’t work or will they find some fanciful rationalization for why it didn’t? Inquiring minds wanna know.