You call that prayer in school?

Not meaning to offend anybody, but I’m not looking forward to the return of required prayer in school. For many young people, who don’t know God and don’t want to, being forced to pray to God is like being forced to kiss a maiden aunt. Like kissing, prayer is more satisfying when done willingly.

I acknowledge that a return to common moral values is necessary if America is to survive. But America was founded upon the freedom to exercise one’s faith. Faith cannot be compelled. My Anabaptist spiritual ancestors knew that all too well and accepted martyrdom because of it.

If prayer is talking to God, how can anybody pray if they don’t know him or believe in him, in some small way? Without faith it is impossible to please him. Can prayer without faith please him? Is it even prayer?

It would be wonderful if every school had regular prayer meetings led by school officials who were passionate for God. But, as Jim Cymbala points out, most churches don’t have that either.

The word “inoculation” comes to mind. If you expose a child to a weak form of measles, he will never catch the real thing. But if you expose a child to a weak form of devotion to God…

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