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Legislating Prayer?

Legislating Prayer?
“Meet Me at the Pole” events, where students meet outside of school hours to pray at the flagpole, have long been considered acceptable expressions of religious freedom. But they’re taking it a step further in Kentucky—where legislators are endorsing an annual “Day of Prayer” for students across the state. Representatives say the law will be “respectful of all faiths by asking that Kentuckians spend the day praying, meditating, or reflecting ‘in accordance with their own faith and consciences.’ ”

State legislators see the Day of Prayer as an opportunity to show solidarity with students and to join with the worldwide Day of Prayer that falls on the same day. Yet as nice as a designated day for prayer sounds, Bible believers should ask themselves a few questions: Do people or God really need a “Day of Prayer” designated by their government? Should legislators be actively promoting religious activities and worship? And what about our atheistic neighbors—will they still feel fully represented by their government?

Legislating a day of prayer, even a voluntary one, is reminiscent of the ancient account of when Daniel was thrown to the lions for his decision to pray to the God of heaven rather than to an earthly king. Daniel understood the line between obeying religious laws designed by man and giving allegiance to the King of kings.

When we start crossing the lines of civil authority and matters of faith and personal conscience, where does it stop? When does voluntary become mandatory? When does “in accordance with their own faith” become “in accordance to a state-sanctioned faith”? Bible students understand that this step, regardless of the motive, could be bringing us closer to the final religious conflict identified in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation.

Authority over matters of worship will be the final issue before Christ returns to rescue His people from the rage of the followers of Satan. Revelation says, “The dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). The most obvious commandment at stake seems to be the Sabbath, as people don’t have much of an issue with the other nine commandments.

Click here for a free resource about the importance of maintaining clear lines between the state and personal worship. And don't forget to share with your friends and family!