Public prayer - Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper: Religion

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Public prayer

A growing trend, or a declining practice?

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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 9:56 am

A family of four walks into a popular local restaurant and can’t wait to order their favorite dish that has been heavily on their minds all day. As the family awaits their special delivery, they create small talk but are quickly interrupted by their waiter who has placed a plate in front of each family member. Before digging in, the group of four bows their heads and listens intently as the family prayer is said.

This family performed an act that one may rarely see at a restaurant dinner table, praying before meals.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner located in North Carolina offered a 15 percent discount for customers who prayed over their meals before eating. In recent news, the discount was dropped in fear of a lawsuit due to a threatening letter from atheist group, the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Lydia Warfield, owner of Daycare Ministry located in Indianapolis said she always encourages her students to pray before meals.

“We have a special prayer they (students) say. They wait until their plate and milk is down, they put their hands together and say it all together,” said Warfield.

She notes that all students are instructed to pray during breakfast, lunch and snack times.

“I think it’s very important because, some might not believe it, but they put everything in food now, but you’ve got to eat something,” said Warfield. “I always like to bless my food because I thank God to have food and that we don’t have to go hungry.”

She notices that many parents don’t think about completing the act until their child does.

“Some of the parents say ‘you know we’re doing it at home now.’” You get a lot of parents with different backgrounds come through here and some of them are all for it.”

U.S. News & Beliefnet Prayer Survey conducted a study between Christians, Jews, and Muslims and found more than 90 percent of all three groups choose to pray silently over other methods of prayer and over 70 percent prefer to pray at home than a public setting.

Pastor of New Life Baptist Church, Pollie Anderson said it’s upsetting that society has steered away from praying before meals.

“Since prayer has been taken out of schools, it has had an affect on families. Some people will pray no matter where they are but others will silently pray and you may not even notice,” she said.

She adds that she isn’t sure if all daycares require students to pray, however it does play vital role in their development and has an influence on their families.

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