Public Prayer

I’ve noticed that in our society spiritual practices — prayer, meditation — are either done in private or in some sort of organizational, institutional structure.  The problem with privacy is it tends to be lonely, and to close us in on ourselves.  The problem with organizations is that they tend to be pretty boring, and they impose their own groupthink agenda.  At the best they promote their own self-perpetuation, at the worst they’re cults.

When I was in a bus terminal once a guy came up to me and asked me to pray with him.  The problem was he was trying to convert me to his religion.  But the thought was nice.

I wonder what would happen if we started approaching each other in Starbucks and on the street and said “I’m not trying to convert you to anything.  But would you like to take a moment to pray together, or spiritually center ourselves together?”



5 thoughts on “Public Prayer

  1. Maybe it’s like trying to listen to two different songs at the same time? And if you’ve got earbuds in, are you really doing anything together?

  2. Groupthink has a bad reputation that’s not entirely undeserved. We need to keep our ability to judge independently even if we’re members of a group. And you’re right that groups can become self-serving. But we belong to groups in the first place because they help us achieve good things, including support for individual moral character and social harmony. Like most things in life, they’re a mix of good and bad.


  3. Howie B says:

    I think this has to do with a lack of a public sphere outside of formal institutions.
    People don’t make out in public either anymore

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