A place for discussion of living out our faith in the context of public service, having a Christlike influence in our offices and on those we serve, and responding to religious persecution at work.
Publicly blessing the food at an office meal
April 6, 2010 at 10:14 pm #96892
About a year ago my boss asked me to say the blessing over our “holiday” luncheon. My boss is not a Christian, but he is traditional. He clearly knows of my faith, so to him it was natural to ask me to say the blessing. Being the good Baptist that I am, I offered my prayer in the name of Jesus. Interestingly enough, one person came to me the next day to complain that I should not have mentioned Jesus in my prayer. She suggested that it would have been more appropriate to pray in a generic fashion without mentioning any specific god.I was caught off guard, but not completely surprised by her statements. My reaction was good, it think. I remember telling her that I am sorry that she is offended by the name of Jesus. But I am not going to change the way I worship out of fear of offending her or anyone else.Then this year’s “holiday” luncheon happened. Again my boss asked me to pray. I prayed, but I wimped out. I managed to muster up a weak, half hearted prayer that was completely non-specific. Most likely the only person offended by my prayer was Jesus.Now, I am resolved to do better. But I know I am weak and unable to withstand political pressure on my own. I am thankful for any encouragement others my have and help with how to take a stand for what I believe in a workplace that is not very welcoming.
April 6, 2010 at 10:22 pm #96910
Hi Jeff. Read my very first blog to Gov Loop.
Can Open Government bring FAITH back In Government, and my suggestion is to stay blessed and seek to bless!
April 6, 2010 at 10:28 pm #96908
Jeff – I don’t think you wimped out at all, and I doubt that Jesus was too offended. In fact, it’s pretty clear that Jesus is the reference model for teaching us followers how to pray – you know, that little priceless guide we refer to as the Lord’s Prayer? 🙂 As a footnote, if you want to add “in Jesus name I pray” rather than “..we pray” then that might be a nice way to message the particular way that you believe, but not necesasrily asserting that Jesus’ authority over everyone else in your prayer.
April 7, 2010 at 3:22 am #96906
Jeff, you might also consider that Jesus was likely, in my opinion, not teaching us to pray and add ‘in Jesus name’ at the end of our prayers, but rather to pray as His representatives, praying for things that would be part of conducting His business, much as you might represent your boss and do business on his behalf or in his name.
You have resolved to do better. That is much of what God expects of us, doing better (repenting) in His strength. Keep pressing on!
April 7, 2010 at 11:50 am #96904
I agree with Sam and Steve. I know that it can be tough. At this year’s annual Soul Food Luncheon- which ends the Black History Month celebrations (agency wide participation- general counsel in attendance) I was asked to pray. I was very nervous, because I didn’t want to give into political presssure, but I also didn’t want to deny my faith. Before I began my prayer, I gave a very brief history on why we pray, then I said for anyone who wishes to join me in this prayer please bow your heads, and I began the prayer and ended it with, in Jesus’ name.
I received no complaints, several people were shocked and pleased that I did not leave out HIS name. I take no credit, I just keep in mind that GOD is with me and gives me the power to withstand the enemy and any attack.
I also take what I call the Jericho walk every morning. Because I’m in the office at 7am, generally very few people are here, after getting my ice from the machine I take the long route back to my office, I walk the halls praying and asking GOD to have HIS way in this place.
I am greatful for this forum, which allows us to share, stay connected, and to pray for one another.
April 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm #96902
Ronald David (Ron) HughesParticipant
I’m not sure the issue is to pray or not to pray but that we let our light so shine beofe all men that they will our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. As a practicing Roman Catholic I always make the Sign of the Cross before and after grace at our government gatherings. Not for show but because this is a sign of my faith. Does it offend anyone? I’ve never been told whether it does or not but it is a sign of my faith that I wear proudly. Again, for me it is more important to live a moral, ethical, and commited life before my co-workers. I also concur with Steve Guenerich that the Our Father is always appropriate.
April 8, 2010 at 2:37 am #96900
This illustrates the problem with political correctness. The lady didn’t mentioned she was offended, she appeared to believe that others may be offended. It’s madness.
If you had mentioned Allah or another god, I doubt if there would have been a conversation. Christians are not a member of any of the “protected groups” in this country and that is why we get targeted. (I also believe it is part of the larger anti-southern bias in this country, and I’m a yankee).
Anyway, pray humbly and mention our Savior. You never know, youmight reach somebody!
April 12, 2010 at 2:15 pm #96898
I had not thought of that before. The NT does promise us that anything we ask in the name of Jesus will be given to us. So, as a response to that, we have added the phrase “in Jesus’ name”, to the end of almost every prayer – almost as a reflex to that promise, and perhaps as a way to “seal the deal” on that particular prayer request. But does that have to apply to everything we pray for or about? Before he fed the 5000, we are told that Jesus gave thanks for the bread and fish, but it does not say that he blessed the food “in His name”. Therefore, it very well may be appropriate to give thanks for a meal without doing so “in Jesus’ name”. The honor and thanks still go to God the Father, or more specifically Jehova Jirah (God the provider).
August 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm #96896
I wonder what would be your reaction if one of your colleagues offered the following grace:
“I’d like to thank the farmers who grew this food, the chefs who cooked this food, and all the other people who brought it to us this day. Other people made this meal possible and we extend to them our hands in fellowship because there is no god. Let’s eat!”
Is that an acceptable preamble to a work meal?
As a member of an enlightenment-era society, I find public prayers in general problematic. When they’re offered at government functions, even more so. Further, as Jew who wears a kipa all the time, I would find any prayer that mentioned Jesus exclusionary–like I have no right now to partake in the meal, dedicated as it is to a personification of God in which I have no place.
I think the better thing to do is allow for a moment of silence before eating. If your boss asks you for an invocation again, that might be the best thing to do.
March 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm #96894
Jesus, Allah, G-d, Jehova Jirah, etc. all know who their children are, and who is being thanked for the food. If one actually lives out their faith so do your co-workers. You don’t need to mention God’s personal name in the prayer.
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