(He doesn’t think Christians should say grace in public as a vehicle of witness — “there are better ways to do that.”) Why do we feel we “have to” say grace … HuffPost is part of Verizon Media. "I don't want to be seen saying grace in a public place," most of us think, even those of us who say grace very regularly (groan-- that documented group). In Dreher’s experience, many Christians hold back from showing their faith in public out of fear of being rejected as much as fear of causing offense. I’m going to pretend that they’re not, because I’m so absorbed in relating to my dear, Sweet Jesus,” or Sep. 16, 2016, They join in to. We'll Find Out In January. Alecia — your observations and questions are good ones. Support Aleteia with as little as $1. When I was a young child, we said a rote grace in front of each meal — it was meaningless and purposeless, and performed more out of obligation than any other reason. This heartwarming TV ad focuses on what reall... Pope's preacher won't become a bishop though ... © Copyright Aleteia SAS all rights reserved. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Today Tommy Tighe gave us 5 ways to evangelize without seeming to and number 1 on the list was saying grace in public. That can be a silent witness. Even then it depends where we are. Visible religiosity is tricky in some of the same ways that public displays of affection can be tricky: I don’t want to alienate friends or strangers by having them see something that makes them uncomfortable, but I also want to be able to reach out to or listen to God throughout my day, not just at church and in my home. He talked to the Father when he was with his disciples. As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. at 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. Indeed, because the three-times-daily grace is not meaningful to us, it is better that we not do it this way. 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. some ask, insisting that the outward action witnesses to those around us, bearing rich, rich fruit. It’s not to say that genuine public prayer can’t happen, but one thing is for sure — it WON’T happen unless the person praying spends a LOT of time speaking to God in private, to the point that it becomes normal, desired, and wanted. I don’t care what they think about me. 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. In a restaurant, it can seem daunting. It ties in to the general fear of public speaking, but with praying or saying grace in front of others, there’s an extra added something that makes people feel they’ve got to get it perfect. My dad and I were at a truck stop in Louisiana, and he was deep in conversation with a trucker sitting at the counter with us, so he indicated to me that I could go ahead and eat. 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. This is a good discussion. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. Only 57 percent of Christians thought an observer who spotted their religious clothes or jewelry would be untroubled, but nearly three-quarters of atheists and agnostics were unbothered. I’m human and I fail often, but I seek to live this way more and more. But why should this matter? This is, and always has been, cloying to us, and there is an offensive nature to it that repels us. Nearly half of atheists and agnostics in the survey feel extremely or very uncomfortable when they eat with someone who says grace before meals. Saving Grace | Ms. Shada Burks/ Self Published Author, Is Anyone Interested in a Little Privacy? It to me is a matter of having a thankful heart and not letting the world squeeze me into its mold. The people around, listening to us, pick up on this. “Grace in the kitchen, Grace in the hall, please O God, don’t let them get it all.” (Shared by Buddy Wasson) “Lazarus rose, Moses led, Noah built, Jesus fed. At least, we shouldn’t pray for that reason. But this judgment is not up to us to make — we do not live in their heart, hear their thoughts, are not privy to their relationship with God. Not to boast in my spirituality, but because I genuinely care for the person and I want them to know that God cares for them. To get a better sense of what religious practices make the nonreligious uncomfortable, I asked SurveyMonkey Audience to ask its panel to answer questions about acts of prayer that might be performed by an individual believer over the course of an ordinary day (praying the rosary on the bus, feeling led to pray for or with an acquaintance, etc.) I agree that you shouldn’t pray simply because of peer pressure or tradition, but it is good to get out of our comfort zone. I’m going to pretend that they’re not, because I’m so absorbed in relating to my dear, Sweet Jesus,”, “I feel awkward, but if I’m afraid to show thanks to God in public, then I’m ashamed of Him,”, “I am a living testament to my Lord, and people around me will be inspired by my actions! Now actually, this concept is not a bad one at all, especially when one considers standing up for the Lord in light of befriending the awkward person who is embarrassing to be around, or forgiving someone’s thoughtless comment about how we look that day, or not making a judgment about the food the person ahead of us in line — obviously on public assistance — is buying, or giving $20 to one who asks for it without worrying if we’ll ever get paid back, or refusing to add our opinion about So and So’s family situation to the office water cooler or back-of-the-church coffee chat fest. The survey included questions about a variety of faiths, but for questions about the expectations of religious practitioners, I reported only the results from Catholic and Protestant Christians (Mainline and Evangelical) because the sample size for many other faiths was too small to report on individually and would be swamped by Christian responses in the aggregate. I was thinking only about SAYING grace out in public before eating. Are they getting what we’re saying? This is not to say that people cannot honestly, forthrightly, and genuinely speak thanks, in public, to God, as you describe. Thank you so much!” There is a strong connection with Him as we give these thanks, as real as when we look into the eyes of a friend or loved one who has just given us something and is waiting to see how we respond: we look straight into their eyes and infuse every bit of joy and meaning that we can into the words, “Thank you! Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Pingback: Saving Grace | Ms. Shada Burks/ Self Published Author, Pingback: Is Anyone Interested in a Little Privacy? Have you ever been embarrassed to say grace in public? Prayer Line 1-888-577-5443 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. 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. Always say grace in public. Thank you so much.”. 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. © 2020 ABC News Internet Ventures. What if someone sees you bow your head and make the sign of the cross in a restaurant? . They take five seconds to do, and generally do not engender any sense of pride or puffiness in our soul that cause us to say to ourselves, “As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord!”. To enable Verizon Media and our partners to process your personal data select 'I agree', or select 'Manage settings' for more information and to manage your choices.