“For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.”– Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
Do you like to pray aloud in public?
Normally I am not very comfortable with it. I like to pray to myself in the car, shower, airplane, house, bedroom, and a host of other places, but praying aloud in a public place gives me the eebie-jeebies. I feel self-conscious, like people will be staring, or thinking I am crazy. It is silly, since God likes to hear from us anywhere, but I think a lot of Christians struggle with it.
Not the men I saw yesterday.
Two friends and I were having lunch at a local eatery and we noticed that the table beside us held three men who were holding hands and praying aloud. I don’t know if they were pastors or something, but right in a busy restaurant, they were praying together.
Jesus tells us that when two or three are gathered in His name, He is with those people. I can imagine He had pulled up a chair at the table of the praying men, sat beside them, and spent time with them. I thought about that–Jesus was right in their midst. Now why wouldn’t we all want that?
Perhaps we are in public places where Jesus would not be welcome. Perhaps we are distracted by the people around us. Perhaps we allow our fears of what people will think to overrule us. I think there are many reasons why Christians feel awkward at times with praying in public.
As I ate lunch with my friends and discussed life, it became apparent we needed to pray for our friend who was facing medical procedures next week. So, near the end of our time together, we decided to pray, holding hands, right in the restaurant, right next to the table of men. We prayed for our friend, unworried about others around us, feeling the power of God wash over us. We left sustained, knowing God heard us and that His power would work in our lives.
I thank God for the blessing of having the praying men be our example of what to do. It’s like God was showing us the way through them. And I know that Jesus was truly with us and in our midst, as He promised. So if you feel awkward about praying in public, give it a try next time, and see how God will work!
Prayer–“Dear Jesus, give me the courage to take all prayers to you in all situations, even in public. Help me follow the leading of the Holy Spirit so that I may invite you to join me, and welcome you no matter where I am. In Your Holy Name. Amen.”