Prayer in public…

June 20, 2019

Daniel Fachting, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist, Lay Minister at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Clare, and Chancellor for Knights of Columbus Council #3029. He can be reached at fachtingcounseling1@gmail.com or by calling (989) 386-8166.

When I was a child we never prayed in public. If ever we went to a restaurant, we ate without praying. At public school we never prayed. I doubt that my father prayed at work. We prayed in private at home or in church, but never where anyone but Catholics would see us. It just was not done. Then laws changed and it became illegal to gather for prayer in many public places, or even to speak of God or the Bible.

The general consensus seemed to be that to pray, speak of the Bible, or to share our faith could be upsetting to some people such as atheist or non-Christians or other faiths and that we shouldn’t “push our religion on to others”. It was not kind. It made others feel uneasy and disrespected, so we kept our faith to ourselves. It is not politically correct, and in some cases, illegal to have Christmas decorations in public or even to say Merry Christmas, because it makes others feel that we are pushing religion on them.

How refreshing it is to me to see people praying in restaurants. Seeing people make the Sign of the Cross or bow their heads in prayer. It is so uplifting. I hear of groups of men and women gathering in restaurants for group fellowship at lunch or breakfast and taking a minute for prayer. I know of people who pray before they begin the workday. They pray for safety, wisdom, for each other and their families. I know teachers who gather to pray for their school and their students. I know students who pray together. I know doctors who discuss faith issues with patients and pray together for each other.

The atmosphere seems to be changing and people are becoming bolder in their ability to pray in public. I hope it continues. As long as it is done in a respectful manner and not in an attempt to force religion on others, I think it is very appropriate. I will continue to do it and I encourage other to do it, too. If it is upsetting to you, let me know. I’ll pray for you, too!

“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine upon you, and give you his peace.”

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