Praying in Public

I’m pretty familiar with the many stories and characters from the Bible, but that doesn’t keep me from being enlightened with the “aha” experience on a frequent basis. Within the last couple of weeks or so one of my blogging buddies and I were discussing praying in public. I’m willing to pray anywhere and any time, but I’m reluctant to make a big deal about praying in a restaurant.

I usually play it by ear, and depending on who my dining companions are, I’ll either say a silent prayer or bow my head while someone prays aloud. Sometimes the people I’m with want to hold hands around the table, and I’ll acquiesce to that as well. My little grandson loves to do that and will often say, “Let’s make a circle.” Gotta love that!

However, I sometimes find myself wondering what exactly it is that God wants. In the New Testament, Christ warns us about praying aloud on the street corners to be seen by others, and I interpret the street corners as “in public places where you are sure to be seen.” He further instructs us to retire to our closets to pray, and setting the example, Christ often escaped to mountains, desert, or gardens when He needed to talk to God.

Anyway, my blogging buddy directed me to Matthew 14:15-21, the verses that tell the story of Christ feeding the “five thousand men, beside women and children.” What did he do before breaking the bread and distributing it? Verse 19 tells us that, “looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.”

I’ve read that story numerous times, and yet I’ve never really paid that much attention to the “he blessed” phrase. Words worth remembering…and an example worth emulating.


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

3 thoughts on “Praying in Public”

  1. Not an expert on this…but it seems that the intent of the ‘praying in private’ was not to stop people from praying, just because they are in a public place. Rather, it seems to say that the prayer is to be meaningful to the person who is praying – NOT a show to be put on for onlookers…

    I think the warning is for ‘show-Christians’ – people who pray so that their neighbours and community would say: ‘Wow, what a pious person!’ – not for those who join hands with their grandchild and offer heartfelt thanks…

  2. Well, in this society praying in public is often NOT done for the approval of others. People are, for the most part, good but praying in public is a little jarring. Like a hiccup in a routine.

    It calls attention to itself only because it is done infrequently.

    People in my town would respectfully ignore your table.

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