Last Monday I delivered the invocation for the second general session of the 2015 convention of the American Counsel of the Blind. As I was considering what I might say, I was troubled by a question that has bothered me in the past when I knew I would be asked to pray publicly. Should one plan a prayer? I think about Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:5, where he warns not to make a show of praying to be seen by others.
So I asked Him, and another passage came to mind. This is Jesus speaking just before he called Lazarus from the grave.
41 … Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” (John 11:41-42 NASB)
The problem is not public prayer. Jesus Himself did that. It’s not even public prayer with a purpose. You see here that Jesus did that too. The problem is, as with most things, what is in your heart. So I asked Him to guide me and rehearsed what I would say. It didn’t come out exactly like I wanted it, but I’m thankful for what I learned in doing it. Primarily for the benefit of friends and family who have asked, here’s the clip from the session.