Elizabeth Willis Barrett
I heard the other day that a very determined woman pointed her shaking finger at a school group demanding that prayer be allowed in the schools. I used to feel that it was a huge mistake when prayer was deleted from public forums but I have a different feeling now.
I‘m for prayer, but I’d want the prayer to be my kind of prayer. I wouldn’t like it very much if I were required to kneel to the east several times a day because the one in charge worshiped in that way. And I don’t suppose those of the Jewish faith would like to be prayed for in the name of Jesus Christ at every secular meeting they go to. I love the Savior. I wish every religion accepted, loved and worshipped Him. But they don’t and we can’t assume that He is in everyone’s life.
Once our family made some people very uncomfortable by insisting that they pray like we pray. We had associated with a born again Christian group for some time because they were trying to help one of our children, for which we were very grateful. In the process, we had been preached to and prayed for and blessed over and over by them as they waved their hands in the air and quoted scripture and treated us as lost souls who needed much spiritual guidance. Since we feel that we have quite a good grasp of scripture and spiritual things ourselves, we were a little resentful.
So, when we had them in our home, Brad thought he would return the favor by having them pray like we do for a change. We all knelt in a circle and Brad offered a prayer. That is how we have family prayer in our home. I feel that it made them uneasy and I’m sorry we were so adamant about them joining us. Brad just wanted them to know that prayer was not foreign to us and that we definitely loved and worshipped Heavenly Father, too.
Prayer is a very personal thing. Those people in our home loved God. They had dedicated their lives to His service. We didn’t have the right to make them worship in our way. And we don’t have that right in the schools either. There is so much diversity, so many ways to talk to God. Maybe a moment of silence would be more appropriate where each could reflect or pray in his or her own way. Our kids certainly could use some spiritual help. We all could.
I rejoice when friends of other faiths say they’ll pray for me or for one of our kids. Those prayers are so welcomed, heard and felt even if they have a different way of reaching Heaven.
As I went to a Mormon Temple dedication with a wonderful Catholic friend, she said in reference to the numerous religions, “We’re all trying to go to the same place; we’re just driving different cars.”
If we want someone to ride in our car, we’d do better with kind invitations. We ought to make sure that our car is driven by and filled with happy, loving and accepting people. Or who would want to join us? Those with angry pointing fingers will have no passengers no matter how much they promote prayer.