I don’t watch sports, nothing against them I’m just not really into watching, although on a rare occasion you will find me going to a hockey game cheering for whoever the home team is cause hockey games are so much fun to watch live! In spite of my lack of attention to sports, the Tebow sensation has reached my eyes and ears through the news and through Facebook friends’ posts. Most recently I saw a heated discussion between a Facebook friend and one of their friends who I don’t know. They were debating whether or not it was OK for Tebow to be praying in public. What really bothered me about it was that one of them was basing their whole argument off of a scripture reference they were taking out of context. This really made me uncomfortable/raised my heart rate a little bit and made me get that nervous feeling in my stomach that maybe I should point that “out of context” issue to them. Since I love, love – LOVE God’s most holy infallible word, I wanted to say something so bad! I didn’t though – I had a feeling that wouldn’t be the wise thing to do.
Anyway, as I contemplated their debate it didn’t take long to recognize that if one person is asking this question then there are more. It is good to ask questions about the Bible – God wants us to ask questions and to study His word. The latter is the part that gets left out most of the time which unfortunately leads to heated arguments based on human worldviews as opposed to God’s perfect truth. To find out what God says about public prayer let’s dive into His Word.
The Method of Study
Well first, set your own initial opinion/gut feeling to the side (sure I have on too!) and open the Bible along with a concordance, I use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. It is available in book form or online. Then start looking up the word “pray”, “prayer”, “prayed” etc. As you look the verses up make sure to read the context by reading the paragraphs before and after or even the whole chapter. That really helps a lot. As you read each passage start categorizing them by types of prayer such as public prayer, corporate prayer, private prayer etc.
After compiling lists we will then look at what God says about public prayer by reading the verses and studying them in context by:
- Studying the text before and after.
- Comparing the scripture with the other scriptures we find about prayer.
God’s word, although consisting of 66 books written over thousands of years does not contradict itself so it is important to shine the light of meaning on scripture by using other scriptures referred to as “cross references”.
As you compile your own list you will realize that it takes some time. I’m going to look up a section of verses/passages each day and will keep my lists here: Verses on Prayer. I’m sure this will come in handy later on for other studies too!
After studying the scriptures we’ll be able to draw a conclusion to the question based on what God has to say about prayer in public throughout His word. Remember to check back for progress on the study and the results!