Prayers in Public School

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Abraham Inetianbor
Should prayer be allowed in public schools? I'll save my answer for last. We must not forget that the only "God's country" on earth is His Church, which is His Kingdom. This is why Peter described it as a "Holy Nation" and God's special possession (1 Peter 2:9-10). There is no physical country under the sun that is named "God's Country." Only humans will come up with names like this. God no longer dwells in Jerusalem Temple so those days are over. Some of us are fortunate enough to live in countries where Christianity is the dominant religion and as such we get our minds into thinking such places are officially "God's Country." I truly wish every country in this world was dominated by the truth of Christianity but this is not the case. We have faithful Christians around the country today so if the United States of America becomes divided in half tomorrow, which part of it should be named God's country? Great people of faith like Abraham and others, knew better not to call Canaan or anywhere else on earth "God's Country" and regardless of where immigration took them, they were always looking forward to a forever home that is not made with human hands (Hebrews 11:13-16).

It is important to note that there are a lot of countries where prayers are not allowed in public schools and the number is growing everyday (John 15:18). Some people are not even allowed to worship God in their own homes let alone in public places. The fact that people want God out of public lives is not new, at least not to people like Lot and the city of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:32); Noah and the Ark (Genesis 6:11); Joshua and the children of Israel; etc. People like these led Joshua to say what he said in Joshua 24:15. This statement made by Joshua is still used by Christians today as the bible verse for courage. Whenever the world seem to be in a turmoil and when serving God becomes undesirable to many, we hold on the God's unchanging hand.
  • "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:15
Abraham InetianborChristians dislike the fact that God and prayer was taken out of public schools. I was one of those that wanted or demanded answers and that's putting it lightly. I had to reel myself in and remind myself that our calling should not only be fulfilled when life is good and smooth with no opposition from the government or people. No one can live a godly life without persecution (2 Timothy 3:12); it is impossible. We are just lucky and ought to be thankful that it isn't worse like Stephen who was stoned to death for his belief (Acts 7). Not to mention, the government opposed Peter and the other apostles way more than we can ever imagine today (Acts 5:17-32). People want comfort and safety 100 percent of the time but I personally want it, to be honest, maybe 110 percent of the time. I would even take 1000 percent of the time if possible but as a Christian, we should know that we cannot allow our cravings for personal satisfaction to corrupt our judgement of what is real about our journey. We all already know that our battle is not of this world so we cannot take the physical fight to the government and start throwing punches.

I once told myself to see the Church that Christ died for as ONE BODY as described in the bible, instead of focusing on one local congregation in a city, state or country. This means that when Christians face persecution in Germany or China, I should feel as outraged, prayerful and hurt for them as one body. No, I'm not in anyway saying there is anything wrong with local autonomy (Revelation 2&3) but sometimes we use it as an excuse not to look at the bigger picture. We all know that Jesus is coming back for His church, which is His bride and not for a local congregation(s) (Ephesians 5:22-32) in a specific country.

As humans, part of our selfish nature is to be comfortable in this life. It makes me wonder what will happen when all our wealth and comfort is taken away from us, just like it happened to Job and his family in the book of Job. How many Christians do you think will be left in this world? We want to serve God in "comfort" and in a "safe" environment but we take for granted the fact that such comfort and safety is NOT readily available to many of our brothers and sisters who are part of the one body. It is not even suppose to be available to us (John 15:18) and will not always be there - it's just a bonus that we forget to be thankful for most of the time. Maybe this is why we do not appreciate it as much.
  • Can we speak up on issues affecting our freedom of worship. YES, we can!
  • Should we be ready to find bible ways around it if we don't get our wishes? YES, we should!
  • Did Jesus promise us the freedom of worship from the government of any nation where we may find ourselves? NO, he did not. In fact, he promised and guaranteed some form of suffering through persecution.
Jesus didn't promise that our government will always act in our favor as Christians. Taking prayer out of public schools is a form of persecution and a big problem but not "the only problem" we have with our kids. On average, kids and adults play video games 25 or more hours each week. That's like part time job hours and this doesn't include time on various social media platforms.
1. Is there something wrong with playing video games?
  • Yes and No. No emphasis needed because each individual should know their own habits and limits.
2. Is video game evil?
  • The answer is a resounding NO, if it's not corrupting your mind. Just like money is not evil until it becomes our god.
3. Is the average hours of consumption outrageous?
  • The answer is a big YES and the number is growing daily.
4. So why are we not as outraged by this as we are by kids not learning about God is schools? And where is it written in the bible that it is the school's responsibility to teach you kid about Jesus?
  • The truth remains that excuses are easier to find than solutions so we quickly reach for it. Most parents will even double down by buying more video games to appease their kids instead of putting their foot down and make the kids use some of those times to study the bible.
Some adults even play video games at work or at home more than their kids do. Imagine if half the time is spent studying God's word or doing community services? Imagine where our kids will be spiritually. We can't save them all but we sure would be better off just with this one example. It's sad that anything that prevents our Christian growth is "OK" if it satisfies our human cravings but when it requires effort on our part for us to look for alternatives for growth, we raise the alarm. Here comes my answer.
Should prayers be allowed in Public Schools? My answer is a resounding YES! Some of you will be quick to say it's because I'm a Christian and I'm biased. Well, if you know me in person or familiar with my writings, you should know I speak my belief regardless. But wait, there is a "but" coming soon. Yes, prayers should be allowed in public schools because kids need to grow up understanding true human values and decency. Christianity teaches these values while helping them know God in their youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Above all, kids need to know that they wake up everyday with the help of the almighty and as such He deserves a simple "THANK YOU" to say the least. You cannot just take the creator of the universe out of the universe that He created. Debating when, where and how to worship Him is a different subject that we all can discuss. Allowing prayers in school does not mean "worshiping God" in schools. It's just a simple recognition that there is a creator of the universe that is worthy of our thanks through prayer. And those who want to know more about Him should be allowed to do so in any place and at any time. If we can sing the anthem and say the pledge to the flag, the least we can do is say a prayer of thanks to the creator of all.

Abraham InetianborNow here comes the big challenge with the "but" I promised. How committed (as Christians and adults) are we to making sure these great values we are trying to instill in these kids and in public schools are upheld first by us? When people can't tell the difference between Christians and the unbelieving world, we all get thrown in one basket. If the character of our kids are worse than the kids of the unbelievers who we are trying to change, how can we make an argument to the schools or government that they should allow our kids to be an influence on the others? Our persuasion is sadly weak and getting weaker everyday because our priorities are misplaced most of the time. Maybe we should first get our priorities straight both in our homes and churches before "crying foul."

It's sad when I hear people blame the government (I blame the government too) for their contribution to the growing problem of removing God from the minds of our young ones. However, using it as the only, only, only argument for why our kids are going astray, is baseless to say the least. The work starts at home. Does taking God out of public school make our jobs as parents, teachers and church tougher? It sure does. I guess it's part of carrying the cross because cross carrying is not easy and comfy. Let's do the very best we can and let God take control.

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