Civic prayer 101 – how to pray in public when half the people there are not Christian

Happy number 242, America! I am so grateful to be a citizen of this great country. Tuesday evening Wake Forest held its festivities and Rebekah was asked to do the invocation/opening prayer.

Rebekah is often asked to do these events, like Independence Day, and The State of the Town, and other civic celebrations. And the reason she’s asked is that she gives extravagant thanks to God for all the amazing blessings of this community – yet she does it without trying to leverage the opportunity to promote evangelical Christianity.

A lot of civic prayers by local ministers tend to leave two-thirds of the audience excluded, offended, or both. Rather than drawing people to Jesus they have quite the opposite effect; you’d think they’d have figured it out by now?


Here is her prayer. Delivered from the stage with rock-star sunglasses!

All across our great nation, from Wake Forest North Carolina, to Midland, Michigan, to Leesburg, Florida, to Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Eureka, California, Fairbanks, Alaska… we are celebrating the freedom that is ours by blowing up the sky with wonder,, and beauty, and enthusiasm, and prayers of gratitude, because we are grateful to be able to do just what we are doing… together.  But we are also very much aware of those who serve and protect us here and around the world… sometimes from ourselves… and at great cost. They help make this possible. We light up the sky tonight with our hearts and our hopes… because we can. May we never take such blessing for granted… so that we may be a blessing to others. Thank you. Amen.

Enjoy the photos – just a few random images from Wake Forest’s 4th celebration on the 3rd. There was a great band – Southern Rock of course, both Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty made an appearance, Mandy from our church led the pledge, the middle school chorus sang our national anthem, local polititian Brian Pate emce’d, the mayor gave a speech, people flooded in from all over, and classic small-town fun was had by all.

Happy birthday America – DEREK


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derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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