Public Prayer? by Boyd Miller





I have been following all the chatter about Rick Warren being chosen to give a most “public prayer” at Obama’s inauguration. Everyone is weighing in about whether he should do so or not because of Obama’s position on abortion or gay rights, however no one is discussing this very unambiguous admonition by Jesus.


Matthew 6:5-6

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men, Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”


This unscriptural and hypocritical practice is so widely accepted in the public church (I am distinguishing between public and private church, which I won’t address here.) by people who boldly claim the inerrant nature of scripture and rigorously hold to Holy Scripture as the final authority in all matters, yet not a single word can I find on any of the ODM’s about this hypocrisy, nor have I ever heard this scripture taken seriously in the traditional church. Why is this ignored?


4 thoughts on “Public Prayer? by Boyd Miller

  1. Boyd,

    Taken literally any prayer in a synagogue,in the time of Jesus,or in a church building in our own time,is public prayer.

    I think what Jesus was displeased with was the hypocritical public show of piety and religious superiority ‘love to be seen by men’.It is this same hypocrisy Jesus attacked when He taught on how to properly comport ourselves while fasting.Jesus was speaking against wrong motives.

    For a supposedly Christian nation,public prayer in schools,or during the Presidential inauguration,certainly is not unscriptural,or unacceptable.

  2. Hi Boyd,

    I’m so glad to see you writing…what a pleasant surprise. :))

    I have a friend who is a rabbi and he told me about being really angry about getting sucked into a public prayer situation because it violated the law and at the time I didn’t ask which particular law. Since he doesn’t acknowledge the new testament, there must be an OT application.

    Question for you or anyone else reading – where in the Old Testament was there a prohibition on public prayer? Anybody know?

    Maybe I’ll just fire off an email and ask him. You’ve raised my curiosity.

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