Sunday, January 3, 2010

Public Display of Prayer




I woke up this morning next to a tiny yet adorable furnace.  It appears all this fun, fun, fun has worn out lil' Ham and he now has a fever.  Medicine and fluids have been applied.  He's watching cartoons and we'll re-evaluate our park plans in a couple of hours.  Needless to say, I do have a little free time and this made me think of something I observed yesterday at Magic Kingdom.

Yesterday we spent our second and final day at Magic Kingdom.  MK is my favorite of the WDW parks.  My brother, who traveled with us and our parents, has friends who recently moved to Orlando.  They are good friends of the family who happen to have three young children 6 and under.  The 'H Family' joined us at MK for yesterday's fun in the sun (and frigid cold wind).  I must say, having only ever been to WDW in the summer time, it was quite strange to walk the park bundled up and to see others in gloves, stocking hats and scarves.  Aside from the cold though, it was totally the best because the park was thinned out.  We were riding rides with no wait, getting off the ride and then getting right back on.  These are rides that usually have outrageous 150 minutes plus wait lines.  Seriously...it was that awesome.

Anyway, we all stopped for lunch around noon.  As everyone sat down to eat, I got up to look for Hubs (who was trying to find some replacement pants for Ham who had 2 accidents yesterday).  To my side were tables filled with other families eating and resting.  I noticed one table with their hands held and heads bowed.  They were blessing their meal before they ate and they were praying out loud.  I smiled and closed my eyes and prayed with them...until I was interrupted by snide giggles and scoffing.  It appears the table behind them didn't appreciate the prayer.  In fact, the dad was leading his two sons in making fun of the praying family.  They giggled, pointed and pretended to make prayer hands.  I rolled my eyes and said a little prayer for them, but I said an extra big prayer for the kids at the praying table.  Their little faces made me want to cry.  They heard the giggles and saw the boys making fun of them.  It was clear they didn't like being made fun of.  The thing is, before the snickering, these kids were saying the prayer with smiles on their faces and now they feel embarrassed.  This made me wonder, how many of us, adults, avoid praying in public because we are too embarassed?  How many of us bless our meals out in public?  Do you find yourself encouraging dinner prayers at the table at home but not following through in public for fear of scrutiny?

I think of how hard it must be for those who live in a country where Christian prayer is not only discouraged but punished, and yet, they refuse to avoid prayer.  What makes are situations different?  Why is it that Christians must be compassionate to everyone else and their faiths, but we can't pray in public without stares and snickers?  I'm frustrated and heart broken for those children who were so proud of their prayers until they were made fun of.  What can we do as parents to better encourage and lead public prayer?

Do you pray in public?  If yes or no, why?
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15 comments:

Just Me said...

oh! I hope Ham feels better! Don't people have anything better to do than to make fun of others...sigh. I do pray in public...most of the time...although I am not gonna lie...there are times when i wish my hubby would hurry up, or I wonder if people are looking etc. It's terrible...and you made an extremely good point, we should be thankful we are free to pray, and we should be bold. Lord help me!

Andrea said...

Hope your hubby feels better, soon.

Yes, I pray in public and I suppose praying is so much a habit that I just do it...I don't think twice.

Thanks for your prayers for my Aunt Mary!
andrea

Graceful said...

Hi Freddae'
Thanks so much for the Lemonade Stand Award -- it's my first blogger award ever!

We just got back from Disney, too -- hope you are able to enjoy your last day there, and I hope Ham feels better soon.

As for praying in public...we don't do it...but I am pretty bad at praying in general (though getting better). So one step at a time, I guess!

Thanks again for your support!

Toni said...

*hugs* to the little guy. I hope the fever breaks soon and everything good. :)

When it comes to prayer, no, I dont pray in public. I've never really seen it happen, and, I guess it's never been a part of my routine. However, I have prayed quietly, and do repeatedly through out my day. Yet, when it comes to my kids, I'm in no way setting an exmaple of prayer for them since non one actually knows that I'm praying.

Thanks so much for bring up this point. I need to rethink my way of prayer as well as include my family in it more often...and in public. :)

The enemy is out there and waiting and wanting to hurt those who Love Christ. I applaud you for praying for the snickering family...awesome. :)

Wylie said...

Yes! We pray together as a family at every meal & being in public at a restaurant is no different for us. Most times my husband will tell our server that we are going to pray & ask them if there is anything we can specifically pray about for them. It is always interesting to hear the responses. Many times people are just taken aback that someone has offerred to pray for them. I have watched people lay down a burden in front of us when this unexpected question comes. It's a blessing. And about people watching, more than anything, we have heard time & time again positive comments from people who appreciate the witness of it. It encourages us as well when we see others praying in public too.

We also hold hands & huddle up to pray together at airports before we fly. This is something very natural to our boys & they are amazing prayer warriors because of it. I wasn't raised with that kind of freedom in Christ, and am so thankful that my children know no other way. I love that this is their "normal."

In turning to the LORD, our faces are unveiled & we find freedom. Therefore, since we have such a hope we are very bold.

I hope Ham is feeling better quick! Been there this time of year when it's cold with a sick one too & I know how that goes. Blessings friend!
Wylie

Christy said...

That other family should feel ashamed and they will have to answer for their mocking of GOD, which whether they see that or not, is what they were doing. I will pray for the other family as they go out and show their faith!

We do pray in public, and the boys are usually the ones to request it before we even say anything. As Christians I think praying outloud and in public (or even not outloud) is such an example of Christ and who we should be...never to be ashamed of who we are in Christ!

Christy said...

This actually gives me an idea of a blog post which yesterday I talked about praying....thanks for the inspiration! I should be thanking GOD to make sure I read this particular blog posting of yours!! :)

Lauren said...

In high school, one of my friends used to pray everyday at lunch before she ate. Some of the girls at our table thought it was weird at first, but learned to ignore it as this was a regular part of our friend's eating routine. One thing I always wish I'd done is prayed with her. I was always afraid to from fear of being scrutinized. I even find myself uncomfortable with it at times now. One thing that our friend said in response to one of the girls' questions on why she prayed everyday before eating was some variation of - you never know what you're putting in your mouth.

Ashley Garrett said...

I hope your son feels better.

We do pray in public before meals, though sometimes we forget to. But I don't really care if someone stares or not.

Freddae' said...

All I have to say is you ladies rock my socks. You're simply amazing and I love getting all of your feedback. Sometimes it can be hard to be a spiritual in a world that often mocks the very thing we cherish, but we should encourage each other to continue to be better and stronger and more faithful tomorrow than we were today. Several of you mentioned how inspirational and encouraging it is to witness other Christians in public prayer. I completely agree with you...it is powerful and it is a great reminder to each of us. I believe our prayer lives are a continuous relationship of growth. How we pray evolves and in what ways and for what and with whom...it all changes. I think prayer should be an essential part of our every day living as Christians and I believe that if we can share the good news of our Savior by worshiping Him in public, than we are truly following our callings to be lights in the world. Our faith isn't meant to be something we keep to ourselves, but something we share with others. That being said, I give no judgement to those who are not comfortable participating in or leading public prayer. Some things just take time. We should also remember that we are to be people of grace. Offer grace not just to others, but also to yourself. If you don't feel comfortable with public prayer, explore that, but don't condemn yourself. Prayer is our time to talk to God. Find other ways to express it.

God bless you all and thank you for your wonderful feedback. I have amazing readers & followers.

Marcia said...

I often pray in my car, for all the impatient drivers who like to beep their horns.

It's a sad day when people feel the need to make fun of others, whether it be freckles, red hair, glasses or prayer.

Hope Ham is feeling better.

:) Marcia

Lynette said...

We always pray before a meal, whether in public or not. We also pray for people we visit in hospitals. Jesus said that if we are ashamed of Him before people He will be ashamed of us before God...I do His will and don't believe in pleasing people. These people are ignorant and extremely rude.

Heather Nicole said...

this made me so so sad...

When I'm with my family and we are out to eat at a restuarant we do hold hand and pray before our meal. I also pray at my desk at work sometimes.

I'd like to think that adults are mature enough to respect peoples beliefs...sadly this is not always true.

Faith Imagined said...

I pray in public but have never noticed anyone snickering. Perhaps God is protecting me. That is just awful!

Chrissy said...

I don't have any issues with praying in public. The way I see it, it gives me a chance to be a witness for Christ without ever saying a word. It's sad that some people, especially the dad in your story, are so shallow that they'd make fun of someone praying. It's just sad.

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