Rod Dreher, an Eastern Orthodox Christian and the author of “Crunchy Cons,” is cautious about who he offers to pray with, anticipating reactions like Silverman’s. Carolyn, I get your point and it’s a good one. Jan — that uncomfortable awkwardness is the voice of wisdom from within, saying, “What are you doing? While showing off our piety is a poor way of drawing others to the unconditional love of our Father in heaven, living that unconditional love is a much more attractive — and effective — way of getting the message across. Click here to get started! I did not count being grateful or praying silently as saying grace as it seems to avoid the question somewhat. Public prayer adds the extra pressure of the spiritual aspect and makes people even more nervous because of the potential impact public prayer may have on others. “If I say, ‘Thank you,’ I’m legitimizing their religion,” Silverman said. Being thankful for is a heart thing, but I do think it teaches our children a good lesson. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. In … I’m going to pretend that they’re not, because I’m so absorbed in relating to my dear, Sweet Jesus,” or Matthew 18:19 ESV / 52 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. What if someone sees you bow your head and make the sign of the cross in a restaurant? Today Tommy Tighe gave us 5 ways to evangelize without seeming to and number 1 on the list was saying grace in public. With apologies for Scripture jumping, the immediate thought that comes to my mind when I see someone in a restaurant with head bowed and eyes closed, or, if they’re in a group, clasping hands with heads bowed and eyes closed, is, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Of course, none of these actions will overtly alert those around us to our status as Christian, but that’s probably a good thing. Sadly, I began to associate it with my former legalistic lifestyle and got out of the habit. I pray with my family or Christian friends; if I'm with someone I don't think is a believer, I bow my head for a quick, silent prayer -- not making a big deal about it. Saying grace in public places, however, is a dicey situation, and rare is the person who can do it without thinking to himself, “Everybody’s watching me. In a restaurant, it can seem daunting. Public prayer is an extremely difficult action to pull off because we are naturally concerned about the people listening to us: do we stutter? It is eminently possible to pray in public without anyone around us being aware, and indeed, the more we talk to God throughout the day — asking Him for insight, clapping the hands of our heart with joy over the beauty of a sunset, admitting that we’re impatient and inclined to be snappy, observing the actions of a toddler and remembering Christ’s words about children — the more normal it becomes. We'll Find Out In January. Neither are you, or all the many people who say, “Well, I see what you’re saying, but . Social media buttons for sharing this article are at the bottom. (If they’re not, then they’re wretched sinners who do not have His Spirit).”. He thanks God because he wants to. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. © 2020 ABC News Internet Ventures. Besides, my three year old would remind me anyway, should I forget. Public prayer should be an overflow of private prayer. Indeed, because the three-times-daily grace is not meaningful to us, it is better that we not do it this way. Trump Probably Won’t Be The Last Politician To Reject An Election Outcome Without Evidence. You have to respect the fact that you are in a public place. Find out more about how we use your information in our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Today Tommy Tighe gave us 5 ways to evangelize without seeming to and number 1 on the list was saying grace in public. Pingback: Saving Grace | Ms. Shada Burks/ Self Published Author, Pingback: Is Anyone Interested in a Little Privacy? I only remember one time when we didn't have prayer before a meal when I was growing up. Personally, I do pray in public and I’ve even asked my waiter/waitress how we can pray for them. If we’re concerned about showing God’s love and grace to those around us (and this is a great thing to be concerned about), maybe we could do so by treating the wait staff as social equals, leaving a good tip (consider leaving something as well for the people in back who did the cooking and wash the dishes), listening — truly listening — to the people in our group, smiling kindly to the woman with the crying child, and not grumbling about the guy in back who laughs too loud and sounds like a donkey. then I just realized the poll is "Do you Pray in public?". What if they stare at you? That can be a silent witness. The saying was forgettable, which is why I don’t remember it exactly, but went along the predictable lines of, “I will stand up for the Lord regardless of what people around me think.”. In the United States, burkinis aren’t banned, but there are still clashes about whether religious freedom means the freedom to worship privately at church or the freedom to practice your faith in public. Are they getting what we’re saying? You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. I’m human and I fail often, but I seek to live this way more and more. My late father, who was not a believer, once told me that, at a job where he once was employed, there was one guy who said a silent grace at lunch in the break room they had. Amen.” (Debbie T. Alsup) PRAYERS MENTIONING FAMILY AND FRIENDS “Heavenly Father, bless this food, and bless our friends and family who’ve come to dine with us today. I know it can also be cause for derision, but so be it. Did we use the wrong word? we can learn from the actions and attitudes of children, who do not worry about their public persona. By Amanda Kohr. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. From an early age, Christians are taught that saying grace before meals is an important practice. Nearly half of atheists and agnostics in the survey feel extremely or very uncomfortable when they eat with someone who says grace before meals. JavaScript is disabled. Sep. 16, 2016, Press into the awkward moments because our God is worthy of our devotion, and this can be an opportunity to shine our light for others. It should be remembered, however, that although prayer is commanded by God, public prayer is not. You imagine everyone in the place staring while you make the Sign of the Cross as discretely as possible before enjoying that first jalapeño popper. Thank you! If the words in this essay resonated with you, please consider sharing. He talked to the Father when he was in the midst of a crowd. You take such good care of me.” Even if we had to briefly close our eyes, we could do so without drawing attention to ourselves and, more importantly, would genuinely fulfill what we say is our intention, thanking God. Hold on... the topic is "Do you say Grace in public?" . In the comfort and privacy of our own home it comes naturally to say grace before enjoying my wife’s delicious Chicken Chile Casserole. In reality, most people aren’t looking at you — get over yourself! Even if eating out alone I still bow my head and say grace! 11:03 AM, Get the data on GitHub Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your account. It to me is a matter of having a thankful heart and not letting the world squeeze me into its mold. ( Log Out /  He talked to the Father when he was alone. What will they say? (That sounds really self-serving, doesn’t it? Create a free website or blog at All of these thoughts, which are extremely understandable, are evidence that something is not quite right in our actions, and it’s highly likely that saying “Thank You” is not the foremost motivation behind our public prayer. You miss the chance to insert Christianity into a public world from which it’s been removed. Ideally, he’d prefer religious people to to ask, “May I pray for you?” and to respect a “No,” if they get one. When Does Praying In Public Make Others Uncomfortable? We thank Him regularly, privately, and in a manner that we feel the thanks that we are giving: in times of private, focused prayer, we lift spiritual eyes into His and say, “Thank you.” Other times, spontaneously through the day, we express (aloud or within), “Thank you for this! GitHub data at data/religion-survey, Over the course of a few weeks in August, France’s coastal towns banned burkinis at the beach, considered a ban on nuns’ habits for the sake of consistency, and ultimately saw their burkini bans struck down in court.

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