Is it Right to Pray in Public?
On Monday this week, as my custom, I posted a Prayer point to my friends and followers on Facebook and Google+. Usually, I don’t post prayers on Google+, for some reason I did on this day.
But to my chagrin, the immediate reaction from members of the public, who I don’t know from Adam, came out of the blue, reacted negatively to the post. Later I ended up thanking God to have published the post. Otherwise, maybe this post may not have crossed my mind.
Below is the exact prayer posted: the responses from the three respondents (two male and one female) will follow afterwards.
‘‘FOR ALL YOUR DAILY JOURNEY THIS WEEK THE LORD WILL BRING YOU BACK HOME SAFELY IN JESUS NAME. AMEN”
Gen 28:15. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land………
They opposed the post angrily- I can sense it from the tone of their comments. They questioned the efficacy of the power of prayers. They saw prayers as a waste of time.
Their comments were copied below verbatim. One of them quoted Bible verses to buttress her point saying, praying in public is un-scriptural and disobedience to Jesus instruction.
Respondent 1 (Male) says, ”Tell that to the people who get killed in traffic and by gun nuts every day”.
Respondent 2 (Male)says, ”Your sky genie doesn’t grant wishes because of a simple fact….” he’s imaginary”, he resides in the minds of the weak.”
Respondent 3(female) says,”No, your god doesn’t answer prayers. Your god is exactly like a pagan wooden idol, except invisible.
By the way, Jesus told you that public prayer is wrong. Why do you disobey the words of Jesus to be a Pharisee?
When I challenged the Respondent 3 (female) to quote the scriptures, she then copied the below verses and ended it with commentary.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Public prayer is what the hypocrites do. Private prayer is what Jews and Gentiles who follow Jesus should do
MY VIEWS ON THOSE COMMENTS:
Is God responsible for an accident and evil deeds?
- Respondent 1 says,’ ”Tell that to the people who get killed in traffic and by gun nuts every day”.
Of course, I agree that many people are dying in a traffic accident, reprisal attack, and self-motivated causes every day. A large number of deaths are caused by carelessness and negligence also. All these factors are not to be ignored. Incidentally, the City of London also witnessed the spate of such attack yesterday. Sadly, the attacker killed innocent people, including a police officer. Many injured in the process. Simultaneously, same happened in Nigeria where few people died and many injured to an act of terrorism. Nobody deserves to die in such horrific manner. My heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in both incidents. I pray for a speedy recovery for those undergoing treatment at the moment. Sadly, this has become a daily occurrence anywhere in the world. But as unfortunate as the situation is, should we then blame God for that?
Was it God that carried out the onslaught? Should we blame God when people die as a result of over speeding and influence of alcohol?, Should we blame Him, when people carry out their evil agenda and beliefs?.
There is no doubt that innocent people could be a victim when a situation like this occurred. Sometimes bad things do happen to good people. But that doesn’t mean God is incapacitated to help, or prayers are ineffective. Blaming God is a case of a parent who tries their best to train a child, but the child chose not to follow the training imparted. Is it morally correct to blame the parents in such case? People ignore the power of choice we all have. Many use such power negatively, and that is the truth. If people ignore God’s way of salvation, peace, character development, and demonstration of love to others, what you get is evil tendencies. The argument of the critic of Christians is that Evil happens because God is either not all-knowing or not altogether good or not all-powerful. If good things took place, they tend to praise themselves, but blame God for every negative event that men allowed or deliberately done.
Ecc 8:14(NIV) There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve…….
DOES GOD EXIST?
2. Respondent 2 (Male)says, ”Your sky genie doesn’t grant wishes because of a simple fact…” he’s imaginary”, he resides in the minds of the weak.”
The perspective of this respondent above is a claim that God never exists. He believes He exists in believer’s pigment of imagination. I am short of space to elaborate further on this assertion. Many more teachings on proof of the existence of God is coming shortly. My God is real, self-existent, self-sufficient, omniscient, omnipresent, etc.. We have numerous infallible proofs of His being. Hallelujah!
ARE WE BEING HYPOCRITES?
3. Respondent 3 (Female)says, ‘ Public prayer is what the hypocrites do. Private prayer is what Jews and Gentiles who follow Jesus should do’.
Matt 6:5 (NIV)”And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
From the above scriptures, it is apparent that Jesus is not condemning public prayers, but rather the motives behind the prayer.
Likewise, He warns against praying in synagogues from the same passage. Should we then say, praying in churches also wrong?
Without any doubt, nothing is wrong in praying in public. It is entirely down to the motives, provided it’s not for showing up. Nothing is wrong in praying for a person or a group of people, whenever there is need or request for prayers in public; same applies to social media platforms. Congregational prayer is not wrong too. It’s all down to our motives. Prayers must be purposeful both in private and public domain. However, in public, it should be executed with care, being mindful of the public order, so as to avoid being seen as the public nuisance.
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?
My point is this, let’s say you ran into a person or a group of individuals who needed urgent prayer or a request for prayers, would you ignore them for being in public? Are you going to say they are in the wrong spot? Can you imagine what would have occurred to the man at the Beautiful Gate that was prayed for by Peter and John if they had ignored him? He would probably have died in his circumstance. If God doesn’t honour public prayer would they have received the answer to their prayer? How come the man got healed of his lameness? Who healed him? Acts 3: 2–8
You can Pray anywhere God is everywhere
Despite telling them Jesus once prayed in public (John 6:11), the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy and Christians to pray everywhere (1 Tim 2:8), Israelites did likewise (Ezra10:1, 1Kings 8:22–23). Notwithstanding they are not convinced.
My job is not to convince but to confirm the word of God. Holy Spirit does the conviction provided they open their hearts to received Him. There are some people no matter what you say and how you articulate it, they are not ready to shift grounds, they have hardened their hearts. So I can see where such people are coming from whenever they are not receptive.
God is everywhere and can be communicated to anywhere. I do pray in my car or mumble prayers while walking whenever I sense an urge to do so. But it is never a replacement for our quiet time. We all need to maintain a private time with God, where there is no distraction and noise. We need an environment where you will be able to hear the still small voice of God.
Conclusively, man will always engage in a blame game. It all originated from Adam when he was blaming God for what he and Eve allowed. Man’s nature of the falling state started up by blaming others instead of himself. Should we blame God for everything evil that occurs? Can we blame Him at all? If good things happened, such people tends to praise themselves, but blame God for every negative event that men allowed or deliberately done.
Gen 2:23 (NIV) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”
Gen 3:12 (NIV) The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
We can see from the above how Adam quickly went from appreciating God to blaming Him. When things are bad, man tends to blame God. God gave him instruction that would have kept him in peace and longevity, but He chose to listen to the devil. He wants to eat his cake and the same time has it!
God answers prayers, and that is an absolute truth.
Your opinions and comment will be appreciated below.
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Blessed with a passion for serving God through teaching and evangelistic online ministry. I am a Bible Study Teacher in a local Parish Church. I believe application of Wisdom from God’s word is the solution to everyman’s problems.
The vision to start this ministry birthed through inspiration of God. He inspired me by saying,”many people are online than on the roads”. He instructed me from the book of Isaiah 8:16a, the need to compile my teachings and inspirations to be a blessing to every reader.