This is my personal opinion. Feel free to differ.
This happens to almost every pastor: Some civic (as in ‘nonreligious‘) outfit calls and asks you to lead a prayer at their gathering. Sometimes it’s the city council or state senate, sometimes it’s a convention or business gathering. Invariably, you are faced with the decision on what to say and what you should not say. Here is my experience…
I was in my fourth year pastoring the First Baptist Church of Kenner, across the street from the New Orleans International Airport. I received a phone call one day informing me that when the American Dental Association held its annual meeting in our city a few months hence, they wanted me to offer the invocation. I was surprised and honored.
The caller said I would have three minutes for the prayer. She added, “And Pastor, please make it interdenominational.” In my journal I wrote: “Had she said to omit the name of Jesus, I would have declined the honor for the sake of principle. As it was, I felt I could do something that would satisfy everyone.”
My secretary Peggy kept referring to it as an “innovation,” instead of ‘invocation.”
The day came. It was a huge hotel in downtown New Orleans. Perhaps 700 to 1,000 people in the room.