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What Can You Say When Someone Asks To Pray In A Secular Setting?


Major Tom
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What can you say when someone asks to pray in a secular setting such as a school board or city government meeting?

 

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:3:

 

That's great!

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I've thought about this because even though my parents know I'm not a believer I will be asked to pray at some point. My plan is this and I don't care what it sounds like

 

 

Dear God,

 

Thank you for all the many blessings you've given us, it is from you that all things are given. As I look at the wonderful food before us I can't help but be reminded of all the people in this world without food and water. So instead of blessing this food we have I ask you to give food and water to those who have none.

 

Amen

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"Let us pray."

 

"IN SILENCE!" I scream.

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If you wanted to be snarky, you could offer a prayer to Ahura Mazda, the god of the Zoroastrians.(If they opened congress with a Hindu prayer, why not?)

 

Now, one that might work without acknowledging the supposed sovereignty of any particular god is this: Lord, we thank you for creating the vast and wonderful universe, upon which the world we reside on is but a tiny part. May we strive to treat all of our fellows with kindness, compassion and respect.

Amen

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What can you say when someone asks to pray in a secular setting such as a school board or city government meeting?

"No."

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Only if I can pray to the FSM.

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Well... that's funny but I'd never try it.

 

I think "Pass" is a good response. If you get challenged you can suggest another person take the honour.

 

If you are amungst people who escalate then a more forthright, "I'm not going to pray" and with further escalation you can follow up with, "I don't have to explain myself and I'm not going to".

 

If that doesn't settle it, excuse yourself, leave and go to the corner store and stuff a candy bar down your throat.

 

Of course, if you are really up for a fight, you might point out that their religion is based on social manipulation and cowing timid people into doing things they don't believe in so that they can "get along".

 

Timid people could take a passive agressive approach and say "sure" and then remain in silence until someone says something like, "What are you waiting for?" and then you reply with "I'm thinking". "About what?" "How to pray", "What do you mean 'How to pray'... just pray. Everyone knows how to pray." "Well I need to think about this" "Think about what?!!" (tension rising) "How I should pray today" And so on.

 

A bit of question / non-answer back and forth and your problem will be solved forever.

 

It really depends on what you can tolerate. If anyone ever tries the Picard thing, do let us know how it works out.

 

Mongo

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What can you say when someone asks to pray in a secular setting such as a school board or city government meeting?

 

No.

 

If asked why I say I do not believe in invisible deities. If that offends then too bad. I've pretty much given up on making it through life being liked by everyone.

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Ricky Bobby: Dear Lord baby Jesus, lyin' there in your ghost manger, just lookin' at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learnin' 'bout shapes and colors. I would like to thank you for bringin' me and my mama together, and also that my kids no longer sound like retarded gang-bangers.

 

And say things like;

 

Ricky Bobby: Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces... new born infant jesus,don't even know a word yet.

 

Cal Naughton, Jr.: I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band and I'm in the front row and I'm hammered drunk!

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Although it would be a bit of work to memorize it, I've always thought that Mark Twain's War Prayer would be good to keep on tap for those... special occasions.

 

Excerpt from Twain's War Prayer:

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.

 

Amen."

 

Or, if that's too much, you could always cadge part of the script from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life;

 

 

CHAPLAIN: Let us praise God. O Lord,...

 

CONGREGATION: O Lord,...

 

CHAPLAIN: ...ooh, You are so big,...

 

CONGREGATION: ...ooh, You are so big,...

 

CHAPLAIN: ...so absolutely huge.

 

CONGREGATION: ...so absolutely huge.

 

CHAPLAIN: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

 

CONGREGATION: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.

 

CHAPLAIN: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...

 

CONGREGATION: And barefaced flattery.

 

CHAPLAIN: But You are so strong and, well, just so super.

 

CONGREGATION: Fantastic.

 

HUMPHREY: Amen.

 

CONGREGATION: Amen.

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"Oh great and mighty Creator of all, touch this food with thy noodly appendage and bless us all with abundant pasta. Ramen."

 

I think I prefer the "baby Jesus" prayer.

 

"Dear sweet, infant, innocent baby Jesus. Please bless this meal with your little tiny baby Jesus fingers. Please help us destroy all infidels with your loving sweet baby Jesus powers, and give us the strength to endure temptation. PLEASE BABY JESUS! Amen."

:HaHa:

These are of course assuming it is a prayer before a meal.

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I've found the "Greg Focker" dinner prayer to be best....

 

Greg Focker: Oh, dear God, thank you, you are such a good God to us. A kind and gentle and accommodating God, and we thank You oh sweet, sweet Lord of hosts for the smörgåsbord You have so aptly laid at our table this day, and each day, by day, day by day, by day oh dear Lord three things we pray to love Thee more dearly, to see Thee more clearly, to follow Thee more nearly, day, by day, by day. Amen.

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