Skip to Content

A Christian Praying in Public

Some Christians believe that praying in public is not the right thing for a Christian to do. They believe that prayer is your personal communication with God, so it should be done privately. They claim that it is based on what Jesus said in Matthew 6:5–7. However, this is a misinterpretation of Matthew 6:5-7. In this article, we will dive into whether the Bible advises Christians to pray in public or not. A Christain praying in Public sample prayer is given below

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will always pray with the right heart. Remind me that when I pray, I speak to You and not to other people, so that they may hear me and think highly of me. I pray because I want to please You, not other men. Give me the grace that every desire and motivation of my heart when praying is right in Your eyes. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will always pray with the right heart.

A Christian Praying in Public

What did Jesus say about public prayer?

The key verse to look at in this matter is Matthew 6:5-7, where it is written:

Matthew 6:5-7

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Jesus said there that we should not pray like the hypocrites because they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners so that others may see them. If you carefully look at what Jesus is saying, Jesus is telling us not to pray publicly to make ourselves look good in front of others. What is being addressed here is more about the motivation or intention of praying publicly. In other words, the Bible allows public prayer, but it does advise against praying publicly to make yourself look good. We have several instances in the Bible where an individual prayed publicly, and the Bible does not condemn such instances. It was seen as a way to honor God instead. For example, King Solomon prayed for all of Israel, right in front of them, as written in 1 Kings 8:22–23:

1 Kings 8:22–23

22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:

23 And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

However, King Solomon did not do this to make himself look good in front of the entire nation of Israel. The prayer was made out of a desire to worship God and glorify Him. Another example that we have is Daniel in Daniel 6:10-11, where it was written:

Daniel 6:10-11

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

11 Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

Daniel here prayed to God, despite the decree that forbids him to pray. The case of Daniel is more about not being ashamed of praying to God, despite any decree forbidding one to pray. This is when his enemies saw him praying and persecuted him for it. Daniel’s intention was not to make himself look good. It does not make sense, given that disobeying a decree will only earn yourself punishment. Daniel simply continued his prayerful life to God, as usual, and because of that he was discovered by his enemies.

In the New Testament, we have this verse from James 5:14-16, where it is written:

James 5:14-16

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

If praying publicly is forbidden, then the elders cannot come to you and pray for healing. Other people cannot pray for you in person. Having others pray for you face to face is praying publicly, not privately, but that does not mean it is wrong. Here are some other instances that we have in the New Testament where Christians have gathered together in prayer:

Acts 1:14

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

A Christian Praying in Public

Acts 2:42–47

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 4:31

And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

A Christian Praying in Public

Acts 12:12

And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

2 Corinthians 1:11

Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.

Praying in public is not inherently bad. We publicly pray when we, as Christians, are called to come together as one body of Christ to pray for one another. Even the prayer of blessing that pastors pray during a church service is public prayer. We must watch out for praying in front of people to impress them or make ourselves look good.

Here is a prayer you can offer for your heart as you pray publicly:

Heavenly Father, give me the grace that I shall always pray for others or with others with an upright heart. I pray that my motivation in every prayer that I say for others is to bless them, encourage them, and glorify You, Father. Whenever I pray with other Christians, I also pray that my heart’s motivation is to honor and glorify You, God. Give me the grace to always pray out of the desire to directly communicate to You, God, not to be heard by other people. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will always pray with the right heart.

A Christian Praying in Public

Should Christians pray in private?

There are times when we pray publicly, like when we come together as a church to pray to God collectively. It could also be when you and other brothers and sisters in Christ are praying for someone going through tough times. However, there are also times where we should pray to God in private. We ought to follow the example of Jesus, who sought out personal time with His Father and spent solitude with Him. In Luke 5:16 and Mark 1:35, it is written:

Luke 5:16

And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

Mark 1:35

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

We also have to value and give importance to those solitary moments with God where we can talk to God alone and pour our hearts out to Him. Remember that prayer is our way of communicating with God. The reason we pray is that we are in a relationship with God through His Son Jesus.

You can say this prayer for your personal time with God:

Heavenly Father, I pray that just as I am committed to ministering, encouraging, and praying for people, I will also be committed and persistent in my personal time with You. Give me the grace to always fight for my personal time with You where I can have solitude with You alone, Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Heavenly Father, I pray that I will always pray with the right heart.

A Christian Praying in Public

Aside from checking your heart’s motivations when praying in public, you must also exercise wisdom when it comes to praying in public, especially if you are in a place where Christianity is forbidden. Yes, you should not be ashamed when it comes to your faith in God, just as Daniel exemplified. However, wisdom must always be exercised. For example, going to a temple or other religious sanctuary and praying loudly for people may not be the wisest thing to do. There are better and wiser ways to reach out to people.

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!