Praying in Public
By Robert Brumet
One of the topics that I teach at Unity Institute is prayer and meditation. A few years ago the folks at Unity asked me to write this for Unity Magazine for a Nov/Dec issue.
This Thanksgiving holiday many individuals will be asked to give the blessing at the Thanksgiving meal. Most of these folks are not ministers, and may never even have prayed in public before. You may become one of these lucky people!
If you are ever in a position to lead a prayer in public, then here are some tips for you to consider when doing so.
Pray from you heart. Make the prayer meaningful for you, rather than seeing it as a “performance.” It will then likely to be more meaningful for others as well.
Breathe. Speak slowly. When we are nervous or ill at ease we have a tendency to speak too rapidly.
Speak in a soft, natural voice, loud enough for others to hear. You don’t need to “sound like a preacher.” Don’t pontificate or use an overly pious voice. Be your sincere, natural self.
Use language that is appropriate to your audience and is comfortable for you. Don’t use “jargon” or terminology that may confuse or offend those present.
Give your prayer a theme that is relevant to the occasion and to the audience. Common themes are thanksgiving and gratitude; consecration of a person, place or event; remembrance of a loved one; prayers for wisdom, guidance or protection; for healing or prosperity.
Most public prayer should be 30- 60 seconds in length. In general, the more formal the occasion, the longer the prayer should be- up to a point!
On some occasions you may want to include some silence in your prayer. If you do, be sure to enter and leave the silent period with a sense of gentleness- almost as if you are guiding someone by the hand. Generally speaking 15 – 30 seconds of silence is sufficient, but this can vary with audience and occasion.
In Unity we use affirmative prayer…..
Being asked to pray is a wonderful opportunity for you to bless those whom you love and to create an atmosphere of love and caring among those present. Enjoy the experience and be grateful that you are being called to do the work of Spirit in this small but important way!