There we sat, our entire family — young adult sons with their wife or girlfriend — in a popular brunch restaurant, to celebrate the birthday of our youngest. I had chosen to sit in the middle of the group so I could connect with everyone easily, and as the father of this clan I understood my role to lead.
Twenty minutes after ordering, our dishes arrived — piled high with crepes and pancakes, omelets and fruit — first in a wave of four, and then another four. Then came that pause.
Should we give thanks for this bounty and for the birthday boy, or just let it slide? I wondered. If we had been at home there would have been no question. But here, among the hubbub of this Saturday-morning crowd the puny voice of fear chided me: do you have to pray? Does God command this? Wouldn’t you rather blend in? Will you embarrass your kids? Other patrons?”
I was fully aware that a public prayer signals more than the condition of my heart; it also makes a statement about who I am, where my commitments lie, and perhaps tells onlookers why my family seems different. From Paul’s encouragement to Timothy we know what he would do. Don’t be ashamed or timid; speak from your source of power, love, and self-discipline; fan into flame the gift God gave you.
So I prayed. Not long and showy, just briefly from the heart, but I was still self-conscious. Is your experience the same in similar situations? What would it take for us to be more emboldened? Have we considered God’s gifts of love, discipline, and power through his Spirit? How might we grab ahold of courage?
Dear God, Forgive me for my fear in proclaiming your lordship of my life. Thank you that you have not given us a spirit of fear, but of freedom and strength. Help me not be ashamed of my dependence on you in my public witness. Amen.
The next time you are in a restaurant, take the initiative and pray.
Photo Credit: Teddy Kelley