Is Praying Publicly A Teaching of Christ?

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At any given time one will see individuals and groups of individual praying openly and publicly in restaurants before a meal, at sporting events, political events, schools, on TV (the TV Evangelizers) and even at open religious events. Is this proper? Is this the pattern Christ set for us? Is praying openly and publicly something Christ taught?

Before he taught his followers the things we should pray for and the priority of those prayers, Jesus explicitly showed that open and public prayers are improper and hypocritical. Notice what he says at Matthew 6:5-6:

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus taught that prayers to the Father in heaven are to be private and done by the individual. That they should be private can be seen in Jesus’ statement: ” But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen” as opposed to “Standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.”

That prayer to the Father is a private matter by the individual can be seen in what Jesus himself did. At Matthew 14:23 we read:

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone …

Another occasion where Jesus showed that prayer is a private and individual affair can be seen at Matthew 26:36:

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.

At Luke 6:12 we see Jesus going up into a mountainside all by himself to pray all night to the Father in heaven:

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.

So, is prayer out in the open where there are observers proper? No, it is not. If sitting before a meal in a restaurant, why is it necessary to bow one’s head, fold ones hands, and close one’s eyes to pray? Where is this act seen in Scripture? Why cannot a silent prayer within oneself without some outward action such as bowing one’s head and closing the eyes suffice? The act of bowing the head and the closing of the eyes in public places is for one reason: To be seen by others. Jesus says one is being hypocritical; it is advertising.

Others seeing you pray is not an indication that you are a follower of Christ. To the contrary, it may show that you are pretending to be one. One is a follower of Christ not by some outward appearance or act, but what one is on the inside.

I see those who call themselves “Born Again Christians” in public frequently raising their hands to the heavens “praising the Lord.” This is done to be seen by others.

Prayer is not a ritual, but a private session and communication between the individual and their God in heaven. No one other than The Most High God, the individual, and the only channel by which prayer to Him can be conducted – Christ Jesus – should be involved.

Never say to a person, “I am going to pray for you.” Why? Because it is advertising. Rather, just go into a private place and pray. There is no need to tell the individual what you are going to do on their behalf.

Praying openly and publicly was not a pattern Jesus set or taught. The so-called Christian religious systems of the world have proven themselves hypocritical and teach those within them to become hypocritical. They teach their members to be persons who:

Love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.

 

If you see only with your eyes, you will be easy to fool. R. Jerome Harris

R. Jerome Harris

A Disciple of Christ in the strictest sense. I belong to no religious organization. I view Christ as my only Head, Master, Teacher, Owner, and Lord. (John 8:31-32, 1Cor 11:3) His God is my God and I champion his teachings above anything issuing out of ANY religious organization.

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8 Comments

  1. I have been concerned about this topic recently. This article is what brought me to your blog as it seems to be the only online source to challenge the idea of open prayer. Being that this entire article is strongly held by your view of Mathew 6:5-6 and I am still fighting the idea of what the verses mean, I will challenge you  on that. A synagogue is a public hall of prayer and the streets are definitly public so praying as a group of fellow beleivers may not fit the category as long as it is selfless. (if that is possible; But, I think that is the main idea.) Either way it is certainly true that prayer is meant to be communication with God and really not for others to hear anyway. Also people definitly make the mistake of thinking they will be heard for their many words. Mathew 6:7

    • Thanks for visiting the website. Concerning this subject, traditional teaching has a tight hold on the masses. Traditional teaching concerning prayer and how we are to conduct it is a gross deviation from what Christ taught about it and example he set.

      One would be hard pressed find examples of Christ praying to his heavenly Father “with” his disciples. We DO see examples of Christ withdrawing away from his disciples to pray in private to his Father.

      It would be one thing if we saw seeded throughout Matthew to Revelation Christ engaged in prayer with his disciples, we do not. Christ appears to be teaching that “the individual” is to engage in prayer to the Father in private in his name. Two or more believers may ask of the Father something, but this can be done “individually” and “privately” by each.

      The concept of “churches” and “congregations” today imply a building where “believers” meet. And, that within these structures the belief that it is OK for a “group” of believers to pray together is proper because the structure conceals them from the public is proper.

      This is not what Christ taught. If I, for example, was among a group of believers within a structure out of the public eye, my prayers to the Father through Christ are still “public” to those around me. Observers (left-hand) no what my right-hand is doing. Plus, such as setting of “group prayer” is NOT worship. It is a hypocritical practice not in keep with what Christ taught. Men created their own concept of what prayer is to be.

      Worship is the exercise of faith and obedience to do God’s will. He commands us at Luke 9:35 to “listen to His Son.” And, his Son commands us how we are to and are not to pray. The system of religion called Christianity, has not listened to those command from God and Christ.

      John 4-23-24 shows that worship of the Father MUST BE with “spirit and truth.” That God is a Spirit means that he is invisible. (Col 1:15). Therefore, we MUST believe Him as someone we cannot see. This believing in something that one cannot see is FAITH. (Heb 11:1). So, faith is required to worship the Father as a Spirit. Christ is no longer flesh and blood and he too is a spirit in heaven as Christ is the truth and only channel by which the Father communicates with us. Our excerise of belief in him must be an exercise of faith also.

      The act of praying openly among believers is a “visible”  faithless act. It requires no faith because others (even fellow believers) can “see” you.

      It is a “faithful” act to make ourselves “invisible” (out of eyesight) of others (even fellow believers) to speak to our Father in heaven in private through Christ in prayer.

      This is a part of worshipping the Father with spirit and truth.

      There is more power in an individual praying to the Father in private than an individual or group in praying in public or a group of believers together (which is still not private). In fact, no group prayers are heard by the Father.

      If you and I are separated by some distance and of each of us pray to the Father about something in common, our prayers are individual and private and carry much power because they are done in obedience to what Christ taught and God hears each of us.

      I might add, kneeling or speaking is not a requirement to praying. I could be standing next to a person with my eyes wide open and praying to to the Father. The persons around me would never know I was praying. That to, is private because no one knows what I am doing except God and Christ.

  2. William Sturm on

    This comment is not just about your thoughts on prayer which I do find thought provoking and generally hard to dispute. I will be researching this more so thank you for the food for thought. Instead, I wish to pose a question. I read your right up on what and how you believe. I agree that the church is not what it should be and I constantly make the statement that “Christians are Christianities worst enemy” I dont however agree with your stance that Christ had no intention on organized faith groups. So I pose my question, if Christ had no intention of men (women) forming groups in his name then why prepare the desciples to lead and why give “The Great Commision” (go out and be fishers of men)? My motivation is not to besmirch or demean in any way. You are an educated and inteligent man. I am curious as to your thoughts on this and feel that all men should leave room to learn new things all the time even if those new things challenge long held beliefs.

    • There is no “Church” today. Rather, there are more than 41000 contending denominations. So which one of them should “be as they should be.” We must really pause and think: Did The Most High send his son into the world to establish a Church? Or, was this something man himself has decided to do.

      We loose the meaning of the world “congregation.” It simply means to be “gathered together.” This expression has become “Church” and Church has become buildings in which people gather together and church has become a religious organization. Such as Catholic, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventist, etc.

      When Jesus walked the earth, we read of no Church. After he ascended, we read about “congregations” of followers in certain towns or cities. Such as the congregation (gatherings) in Thessalonica, Ephesus, Corinth, and others. These were the “places” where the disciples of Christ met, not the “names” they called themselves. Thus, Christ was sent to establish a “Brotherhood” not a system of churches. There is only one Brotherhood and it is those who cling to what Christ actually taught and who obey him and his God (and our God). (Luke 9:35)

      Christianity is an expression (and a religious system) made up by men and it has been cleverly push off on to the world as if it came from God and Christ.

      I am not seeking agreement from anyone I can only present to persons what my Master has taught. Nor am I looking for new “modern” thoughts. God and Christ have spoken. 

      With regard to what you said about Christ organizing faith groups: It is dangerous when men and women form on their own accord faith groups and then claim this is what Christ intended. When men and women do this, Christ is taught divided. Each group teaches Christ differently and they even contend with one another. Each one thinks themselves right and the others wrong. That is the danger.

      Historical evidence also shows that intense hatred and anomosity towards the other so-called Christian groups develop. Even wars have been started because of those differences. For example the Catholics versus the Protestants in Ireland. One so-called “Christian” group labeling the other as a “cult” simply because it is not mainstream or teaches Christ the same as they do.

      The hypocrisy of the many who proclaim they are followers of Christ but who fail to obey him in what he taught about “love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU.”

      What I am attempting to paint here is that there is no true Church on earth as that was not God’s intent for His Son when he sent him. He sent him to establish a Brotherhood. Christ being the experienced “big brother” (so-to-speak) who would lead us to the Father. 

      If there are thousands of faith groups that teach Christ differently, then they all go in thousands of different directions. There is only one Christ and one direction in which to go.

      Jesus said in that regard:

      “if a house becomes divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” (Mark 3:25)

      Only a man-made house falls. Anything established by God will NEVER fall.

      Thus, with many so-called faith groups teaching Christ differently, these are man-made houses that will not be able to stand.

      The Apostle Paul at Hebrews 13:14 shows that so such “city” as arrived yet for followers of Christ to be organized in and that we await its coming to be established on the earth. Cities are places of organization.

      It is for that reason that followers of Christ were not be be a part of this world. We stand “outside” of this world and resist being folded into its ways and thinking.

      The creation of all religion – yes Christianity too – is a part of the world. Man created it.

      Christ taught that his disciples where to be “fishers of men” NOT “controllers of them. Christianity and all religions preys on the masses in order to “control” them in the same manner as the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders controlled the Jews in Jesus’ day. Jesus taught those held captive to that religious system that if they believed what he taught and stayed with what he taught, they would be “his” disciples and they would come to know the truth an the truth would set them free. Free from what? From keeping the Law of Moses.

      This same reasoning applies to those held captive to the religious systems of today (including what is called Christianity): Truly believing what Christ taught and sticking with it as opposed to what “Christianity” teaches would make one a disciple of Christ and those persons would be set free from the many rules, regulations, rituals and false taechings. They would know the truth because they would be listening only to Christ.

      When I look at the portrayals of Adam, Eve, Angels, Jesus, God, The Prophets, The Apostles and others as persons of European descent, I know for certain the Creator of ALL men or ALL races did not create Christianity. If He did, He would be a partial God favoring White skin only. Yet, this is what many run away from and brush off as nothing. This is very significant.

      True disciples of Christ (those a part of that Brotherhood) would not look at the things this world does that divides people such as their religion, the color of their skin, the way they speak, what they wear and so forth. They accept one another as Brothers because the believe Christ the same and view him as their Master and Head.

      Christianity and indeed all religion divides and they are all hateful and intolerant. Christ is none those things and that is why “he” should be followed and not religious organizations and faith groups.

      There is a real danger in the world as there is a push to get persons like me (and there are not many) to bend and deviate from what Christ taught as they have deviated. They call it learning “new things.” 

      Christ as spoken. There is no need for new things. All one has to do is listen to what he said instead of established religion. God should be obeyed in what He said about his son at Luke 9:35:

      “This is my Son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.”

      Few who visit this website speak of God and Christ in this manner. Instead, they defend the “religion” they belong to or put in a lofty and holy place a book called “The Bible” as the Word of God. Only Christ can stand in that holy place.

      I submit to anyone and present the challenging questions: Did Christ ever call himself a Christian? Did he refer to his disciples as Christians? Did his disciples refer to themselves as Christians? How many times is the expression “Christian” used in the Bible? If it was intended that Christ wanted his disciples known by such a title, why did “he” not institute it? Why is this expression not saturated in throughout the Bible? If Christ did not created it, who did?

      The “Who created it” is what those who cling to it run away from. Why? Because they have no answer. Rather than accept the truth that it was not a religious system that Christ established but a Brotherhood, they avoid looking at this because it would reveal to them that they are involved in something other than discipleship to Christ. The truth is diificult to accept and digest in this world, so many simply avoid it. Christianity is the biggest lie and opposer of God and Christ in the history of the world.

      Have no fear of besmirching or demeaning me. I don’t care about stuff like that and it has no bearing on how I write, what I have to say and what I write about.

      I am a free man in Christ and unafraid.

       

       

       

  3. William Sturm on

    After reading this topic and having commented on it I reseached the topic of open prayer with my wife at length. I will tell you that you are mistaken about something. Jesus did actually pray with his disciples. If you go to John 17:1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:     … Before you jump and say that I have taken this out of context, I will tell you that this event took place while sitting at the table for the passover feast prior to his crucifixion. What this shows is that there is open corporate prayer in the Bible by Jesus which just confuses the issue further.

    • What makes you think that John 17:1 is a prayer? I see no amen. Do you?

      Why is it that those of you who believe in “public” prayer will lift one or maybe two scriptures and use them as proof text about “public” prayer and not think that if public prayer was something Jesus taught, it would be seeded and saturated throughout all of the “New Testament” and showed to have been practiced by his Apostles and disciples. But it is not there.

      Rather than you upholding what Jesus said about prayer and “how to pray” you defy him. Jesus said at Matthew 6:1-18.

      Why do you ignore this? Is it because you seek to do as YOU please and as the religious organizations have indoctrinated you to do?

      I would NEVER listen to men or comments such as this for one simple reason, Jesus says different and I obey him and not the desires of men. Jesus is clear in what he says. I don’t need to look for something that counters what he said. When one feels the need to FIND a verse somewhere in the Bible that counters what Christ said then that means (1) what one found is misunderstood or (2) they have no respect for what Christ taught about prayer.

      “Also, when YOU pray, YOU must not be as the hypocrites; because they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the broad ways to be visible to men. Truly I say to YOU, They are having their reward in full. You, however, when you pray, go into your private room and, after shutting your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; then your Father who looks on in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

      I am truly amazed at this “spirit of antichrist” (opposing what Christ taught) as it comes under the radar sometimes. Rather than obey Christ and “go into your private room” you call him a liar and say “he” did not go into his “private room” (to a private place) and instead prayed with his disciples (group and public).

      I reject what ALL of Christianity teaches in this regard about prayer and will listen only to what Christ says. (Luke 9:35)

      That ALL of what is called “Christianity” and even Islam and the others pray in public should raise a red flag in your mind that it is not proper. Disciples of Christ are not to engage in the practices of the world. When you pray in public and along with others, you are doing as “the world” does. And, when you do you advertise to “the world” that you are with it and that you join them in defying what Christ taught about prayer being a “private” and “individual” matter. You place yourself in full display to the world as hypocrites as the Master has said.

      One of the most dangerous expressions today is the one that says, “A family who prays together stays together.” It is a lie because families do not stay together because they pray together; they stay together because they love one another. (Christs commandment at John 13:34-35)

      That expression was cleverly crafted to sell the Christ-defying teaching that public and group prayer is OK.

  4. Dear Brother, You have just endeavoured to correct our brother William Sturm and felt hurt at reading how you answered him, please speak to us brethren with love and care whether right or wrong in our thinking, we are Christ to each other. I bless you for your obedience to what the scripture says though, just keep looking to Jesus and enjoy loving Him and us.

    Love Ed Jordan

     

     

    • Dear Brother Ed Jordan,

      Many define “love and care” as they see it. My commentary was more towards what has caused our people to become like this and not this poor Brother. Answer: The brand of religion of our slave masters that was imposed upon us. It has made us an “emotionally drugged” to such an extent that we do not speak about reason and rationale, but we respond out of emotion. Who is responsible for this?

      We have settled that this is teaching and preaching? Who told us that this is preaching and teaching?

      Those who imposed this religion upon our people “love” seeing us stand in a pulpit in this manner. It sends a signal to them that we are no threat to them. I am 60 years old and I have seen the impact of this type of preaching has had on our people not only in the United Stated but also on the continent of Africa where I now life. 

      There were others who watched that video who had no clue what the Brother was saying. (I was raised in a church where the preach did this sort of thing for hours and I had no clue what he was talking about).

      What I did was loving as we need to wake up and stop settling for this sort of thing Furthermore, we need to stop being so fragile emotionally.

      I write a great deal here on my blog and many people do not agree with me; even when I present rock-solid evidence of the things my Master – Jesus Christ – taught. Instead of using “reason” they resort to “emotion” in their responses. That is what I see here.

      I am being asked to “compromise” and respond in a manner so as not to hurt someones “feelings.” (Here is the emotion I was referring to).

      Any who feel that they are teaching Christ should be prepared for real or perceived attacks and criticisms. Jesus cautioned us that his followers would be subjects to such things. We CANNOT go around expecting everyone to apologize to us when our feelings are hurt or we speak or write in a manner that they are not accustomed to. 

      Emotionally drugged people are a fragile people and they will not be able to weather the storm now and the greater one that is coming.

      My obedience is NOT to the Bible. To me it is a book that the White man compiled, gave a name to, told every that it is holy, that it is Scripture and that it is The Word of God.

      NO! My obedience is to Jesus Christ, the ONLY Word of God.

      I believe our people have been misled in a very large way and we are on a treadmill that goes no where with regard the teachings of Christ.

      I was only stating the obvious and what so many see in the “Black Church” but afraid to speak about. I am not afraid because it saddens me to see us reduced speaking in a manner that is not communicating and conveying. (White people love to see us like this. They have taught us well).

      If we look at Christs manner of teaching, it was not like that. It was clear and to the point. Not all of the emotional stuff. Why? Because emotion is a powerful drug that drowns out reason and rationale and dulls our mental capacity.

      Many of our young Black men get gunned down in the streets because we react “emotionally” rather than with “reason, rational and intellect.”

      Sadly, the Black church feeds this type of emotional drug to our people and I view it as blood-guilty for doing so.

      When I spank my children when they put their hands in a fire, to the child it is not a loving thing. But it is as I am protecting them from harm.

      I can not and will not permit someone to define for me what is loving and what is not loving. It is not for you, dear Brother, so set the rules for others to follow.

      I follow Christ and will continue to obey him and teach others what he taught and not what any religious organization wants taught.

      I say this will all love and respect because I am a concerned Brother.

      To show how concerned I am, please have that Brother post his concerns here. He should be able to speak for himself. I would love to speak to HIM.

      Thank you for visiting e-Prophetic.com

      R. Jerome Harris

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