Dinner Dialogue: "Should We Use Prayer Publicly?"

Read instructions for "Dinner Dialogue"

Should we 'use prayer' as a public statement, or as a protest? 

Administrators at Heritage High School repeatedly asked the students not to pray in the busy commons area, and offered them room where they could meet before school started. The students refused, triggering a showdown that ended with 11 suspensions.

"We never expected things to happen like this," said Pastor Sergey Kozlov, who didn't organize these student protest, but supports their efforts, "For us, it's really important to express our beliefs fully, because that's the reason we came here."

Heritage administrators said the 'location' - an area all students must pass through to get to class - and size of the group posed an impediment to others, and participants also didn't follow rules about organizing student groups. The issue was where they chose to gather, they were asked on several occasions to 'move to a different spot'.

A student who participated in the prayer group said the point of holding it publicly was to encourage others to join in. He said, "If we are placed in a room somewhere, they don't know to join in on our prayer."

Appetizer Questions:

1. Read Matthew 6; according to Jesus, how should we pray? ("Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.")

2. Should we ever "use prayer" as a protest or to sending a public message? The one student said, "If we are placed in a room somewhere, they don't know to join in on our prayer." Is that the purpose of prayer?  

3. Is all public prayer wrong?

4. When did Jesus publicly pray, and for what reasons? (Did he ever 'use prayer' as a public message?)

4. Should these students had just accepted the 'room' for their group, and invited people by personal invitation to join them?

5. How far should you go to get your way, as a student at school?

6. When do you pray, and where do you like to pray?

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