Sunday, May 11, 2014

Praying in Public

The recent Supreme Court case involving the town of Greece, NY and the "issue" of prayer in public meetings has prompted much attention, none of it as valuable, for my money, than the blog post of Morgan Guyton, "Would Jesus Pray at a City Council Meeting?"

Guyton brings me back to my old topic of contemplative prayer and the need to create a monastery within where we rest in God. Silence and solitude are required. I have published several articles on such themes as well as numerous posts.

So I was pleased to see Mr. Guyton refer to prayer as creating a monastery "where we can sit and enjoy the presence of God." He thinks of praying as going to one's inner room, as Jesus did, and praying to the Father in secret. The result is an intimacy that is clearly incompatible with public meetings.

  How can we have an intimate conversation with God if prayer becomes "a public performance and an inner farce," as implied in the arguments presented to the court?

  I don't think Guyton wishes to rule out the validity of community prayer or the church as a praying community, but his emphasis on the private, personal nature of prayer as an intimate connection with the divine is important.

"No inner monastery is created by a prayer that has been clipped onto the beginning of a secular meeting," Guyton writes. And I say 'Amen.'

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