Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Lord Speak To Me"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 1:16a – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. (NKJV)
During the summer of 1951, I worked on a road construction project. An out-of-town company was paving a long stretch of highway and several other roads in that area. I helped the operator who ran the machine that actually laid the pavement. There was quite a group of us, and at noon, the job would shut down for a half-hour lunch break. All of us brought our own food and drink, and we sat down on the side of the road to consume our lunch. I usually sat with an older person who went to the same church as I did, and we always said a quiet grace before we ate. One of our co-workers saw us and said, "What are you guys doing?" The gentleman with me told him that we gave thanks for our meal. He had never heard of such a thing! As a young lad, I was rather shy about praying in a public place with people who did not. Thinking back, I probably went along with it because there was an older church member there.
When I was president of a local housing and seniors' apartment complex, I always said a word of prayer before the dinners, barbecues, and potluck suppers that we had together. Some of the board members were Christians, but there were some who were not church people. Over the 35 years, there may have been a few who wondered why we prayed, but we always did.
My wife and I watch baseball on television quite often, and there are some players who remove their caps and say a prayer before they take a place on the field. Obviously, even in front of thousands of people, they are not ashamed of the gospel or their Christian faith.
As I was moved to write these words, I wondered about praying in public. After all, there are number of passages in the Bible which tell us that we should pray in private. But there are many indications that people also prayed in public.
Acts 16:13 – And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. (NKJV)
I can picture that riverside in my mind, a group of women joined by Paul and Silas, talking about their new-found faith and taking time to pray together. There were probably other people walking along the riverbank, looking at them and wondering what they were doing and talking about. I would not be surprised if some joined them.
We may wonder at times if it is really necessary to pray in public when others may wonder or even be offended. But if we are not ashamed of the gospel, let us boldly bear witness to our faith by blessing our meals in restaurants or in other public situations.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, if we have the opportunity to witness to others about our faith or through the spoken word or prayer, we ask that You will give us the strength to do so. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.