I hate praying in public. I will avoid it at all costs. I’m too conflict avoidant to say “no” if I am directly asked by someone in a class or at the dinner table to pray, but I refuse to volunteer for prayers. When my significant other and I sit down to eat I usurp his right to preside (and ask him to pray) so that I won’t have to do it.
I know I need to get better at this–I love prayer, and I think prayer is not just important for developing an individual relationship with God–it also plays an important role in communities (it can help establish spiritual unity, it reminds us that we are all supplicant children of God, etc.). However, I think until I understand why I dislike praying in public, I’m not going to be able to change my attitude.
I have some thoughts on why it bothers me, but none of them seem sufficient:
- Praying is a sacred activity, and I’m generally slightly uncomfortable doing sacred activities with other people (I still sometimes have a hard time going to the temple with people I know).
- I get self-conscious.
- I feel like I need to do more than just say rote prayer phrases, but I’m not good at coming up with eloquent expressions on the spot.
Anyone else have similar inclinations? Any thoughts on why you (or others) might dislike praying in public?