I was praying to God. Not only in my mind. I was praying by using my voice out loud. I was also walking past several houses. I was making hand motions to describe how I felt to God. I was very expressive in my prayer. I suppose you could say I was comfortable to be in God’s presence. I talked to God like He was my friend. I was praying for a while. Still talking with my hands to express myself.
Suddenly as I passed one house, there was a group of people talking. I quieted down for a second. To anyone watching me talking to God with my expressive hand motions, it could have looked silly…. or not. A moments pause. Eyes were glaring at me. Curious minds wondering. Or maybe they didn’t care, nor notice. What did they see?
Modern people talk to themselves! All the time. People talk on the phone when they are the only one in their car- it looks like they are having a pep talk. I’m sure you’ve seen a busy person in the city with their earphones on. They are busy talking away on the phone when it doesn’t even look like they are carrying a cell phone. Are they talking to themselves? Is there someone on the other side of the cell line?
Have you seen one of those people in cars who is singing like nobody is watching? People are watching. Talk about an unwanted audience! Those people in the car have no idea that curious others are watching them sing away. Lost in the music. Enjoying every moment. If they had noticed that you’re watching…..they wouldn’t even give you a hint that they were embarrassed. There’s no nervous reaction at all.
So, when I’m praying while I’m walking or driving… there is someone who is listening to me! God. I don’t make a practice of talking to myself! My communication with Jesus has become essential. I need this communication access. Yes, I do.
Pause. I am grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom to pray!
My praying incident made me remember a “praying to God in public” story that happened when I was a little girl.
My family was about to have dinner with a community of Christians at a public restaurant. We were in a beautiful beach area. You could smell the salt air, and the ocean was nearby. Everyone was wearing floral clothes. They talked to each other with warmth from their heart. The food would be served, and everyone would enjoy it. During this festive time some people wanted to express gratitude to the heavenly Father openly.
I remember the leader of the group getting up and making a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving and adoration to God.
He openly expressed the excellent character of God. He was a genuine Christian and was passionate about God. He was brave and courageous and was not ashamed of the Gospel. I was shy, and I hid under the table.
I had a limited understanding of prayer at that time. To my little heart, this felt embarrassing. The speaker who was praying to Jesus, blessing the meal and thanking God. Why would I be embarrassed about that? Somewhat ridiculous, isn’t it? At that time, I thought ‘prayer’ was something that Christians did at home or within the four walls of the church. It was private, right?
I have grown in my understanding of prayer. It is still very imperative in my personal life. However, prayer has become something to share with other people regardless if they yet pray themselves.
Of course, prayer is so much more. Prayer is almost like food; it is a necessity. Like the water I need to keep me alive. Prayer can make us grow spiritually too.
So, pray now. Pray today. Pray using your expressive hand motions. Pray for your loved ones! Pray for people who need it. Pray because you can. Pray because you need to. Pray in your favourite restaurant and bless the waiters/waitress and the cooks. Pray on the streets. Pray.
Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel, of prayer, of your faith in Jesus. Remember it is the power of God that brings salvation to people! The power of God is present in your prayers when you pray for others!
Lastly, pray even when it’s difficult, also if you are in a place that forbids you to pray. Your prayers are more powerful and will overcome fears that try to surround you.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”