Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Public Prayer: The Bible's Clear on This One

Roanoke (Virginia) City Council has stirred up a religious hornet's nest of late by directing its prayers to Jesus. First, Councilman Sherman Lea, a minister of sorts, made his prayer to "the son" and now a city minister has prayed "in Jesus' name." The first prayer brought a letter of protest and the second got an opinion from the ACLU.

So now let's see what the Bible says about this: "And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:5-6.

That's pretty clear to me: pray all you want, but keep your prayers to yourself.


  1. People in politics need as much help from God as they can get....pray on. G

  2. I don't think you know your Bible very well. Quoting one scripture is not the whole story. Jesus prayed publicly before resurrecting Lazarus (John 11:41-42). Paul kneeled and prayed with the elders before he left them (Acts 20:36). Praying in a known tongue only makes sense if you are praying publicly (1Corinthians 14:15-16).

    So what was Jesus saying? Obviously the majority of our prayer ought to be at home in private, but that was not his main point. His main point was not to pray in public like the Pharisees, who did so to show off.

    If we are not showing off with long-winded prayers proudly, or babbling on and on in an unknown tongue to show off, then Christ, Paul and others in the New Testament have shown us that praying in public is okay.