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What Does the Bible Say About..Public Prayer?

The passage from the sermon on the mount, regarding public prayer being hypocritical, that prayer (like charity) ought to be private. Isn't there a bit of a disconnect here for people who favor school prayer, whether voluntary or mandatory?


The passage in Matthew 6:1-8 doesn't say that public prayer is necessarily hypocritical. He says that prayer "that they may be seen of men" is ineffective. Public prayer has been an important part of the synagogue worship since the Babylonian captivity. Jesus even prayed publicly (John 17; as well as the accounts of the Last Supper). Paul advocates public prayer (1 Corinthians 14:12-19). So public prayer is not, in itself, in violation of what Jesus said in Matthew 6. The only constitutional problem with school prayer is if the government mandates a specific prayer or prayer under a specific religious practice to the exclusion of others. Some people I know are hypocritical on this issue because they only object to Christian prayer, but would support prayer from another religious background.