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Pilgrim
Pilgrim
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#49659 - Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:10 PM Public Prayer in a Pluralistic Setting  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Kodiak Offline
Plebeian
Kodiak  Offline
Plebeian

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Florida
Greetings!

When praying at a ceremony/function in a pluralistic setting, i.e. where people of different faiths and beliefs are joined together for a specific event, what should be considered? Perhaps you disagree. What is you perspective on praying in a pluralistic public setting?

1. The ultimate desire or goal for praying at a ceremony/function in a pluralistic setting should be threefold:
• that anyone who prays at a ceremony/function in a pluralistic setting, will remain faithful to the teaching of their faith, in the way their prayer is prayed/offered.
• that those who are present in the audience at a ceremony/function in a pluralistic setting, will be able to join in the prayer that is offered, without being offended and violating the teaching of their faith.
• to support the 1st amendment of the US Constitution.

2. Even with this goal in mind, ultimately, there is no way to offer a prayer at a ceremony/function in a pluralistic setting without offending someone, to some degree.
• Someone WILL be offended.
• Actually, even if NO PRAYER is offered at a function in a public pluralistic setting, some will be offended. (Those offended may or may not make their feelings known, but the fact that no one voiced their being offended does not mean no one has been offended).

3. What is the solution to offending others when praying at a ceremony/function in a pluralistic setting?
• As stated above there is no solution available where no one will be offended.
• The best solution available is to be the least offensive as possible, while trying to remain as faithful as possible to the teaching of one’s faith with respect to prayer.
• It is disrespectful to ask someone to “water down” or compromise one’s faith in an attempt to make everyone happy or to offend no one.

4. What are the options to implementing the above solution?:
For the one praying:
• Publicly acknowledge to the audience the reality of the situation, letting them know you will be praying according to the teaching of your faith and hope that those of a different faith can respect your intent and hope for the best.
. Request beforehand that individuals from a variety of faith groups present have the opportunity to offer a prayer as well.
• Do not provide the option for a prayer to be offered and hope for the best.

For the one hearing the prayer:
• Be offended. The act of someone offering a prayer that is not within their belief system is unacceptable. They cannot be respectful and allow others to pray, even though they do not join them in prayer.
• Not be offended. Allowing someone to offer a prayer yet, not join in prayer with them and respectfully allow them to pray.

Thank you... Michael

#49660 - Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:54 AM Re: Public Prayer in a Pluralistic Setting [Re: Kodiak]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,355
Pilgrim Offline
Head Honcho
Pilgrim  Offline

Head Honcho

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 13,355
NH, USA
For me, the answer to your question(s) is quite simple:

1. A Christian's primary duty is to pray to the one true living God. The possibility of offending someone who is not a Christian is a mute issue for all men by nature are at enmity with God and doubtless they will de facto be offended regardless of what is prayed. In very general terms, a public prayer should include a prayer of repentance, confessing that we as a people have transgressed God's holy law most willingly and are therefore worthy of God's just judgment (Neh 1:5f; Is 64:6,7; Lam 3:39-42; Dan 9:4f). Thus a plea for God to have mercy upon us and grant us grace that we may be given a new heart that we might embrace the only means of forgiveness which is found in the LORD Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man.

2. In regard to the ones hearing public prayer which I'm assuming is at an 'ecumenical' function, a true Christian will be most offended at any and all prayers offered to false deities. Yet, knowing that all unbiblical prayer offered by those outside of Christ are "natural" and that such prayers will go unheeded by God (Ps 66:18; Job 27:8,9; Prov 15:8, 28:9; Is 1:15; Jh 9:31; Jam 4:3).


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#49662 - Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:35 AM Re: Public Prayer in a Pluralistic Setting [Re: Pilgrim]  
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Kodiak Offline
Plebeian
Kodiak  Offline
Plebeian

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 11
Florida
Thank you for your response....


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