Praying in groups

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Gina B, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    I've never thought of the reason WHY not, and now that I started thinking about it, I can't think of a single reason!

    Here's the deal. I've always been taught that women do not pray in a mixed group. If there's men there, they lead and that includes prayer. I've prayed in meetings of just women, but never men.

    I've only run into it three times. One time was in a church I was visiting, and my jaw dropped when a woman was asked to close the service in prayer. The other time was at a friend's house at dinner when the husband of the family asked if I'd pray, and I simply explained I was very uncomfortable with that since both he and his son were there. We talked about it a minute, but didn't really get into reasoning and all that. Both were a few years ago. Then last night was the third time, over at our own Helen's house, when her husband brought it up at the end of the bible study.

    So that's what started me thinking. It really feels like a totally foreign idea to me, but for the life of me I can't think of one reason why a woman doesn't pray in mixed company, or shouldn't. I've never read anything like that in the Bible. I don't know why I never questioned it before, I guess I just went with what I was told and figured it must be in there somewhere, it wasn't a big deal to question as it wasn't an issue that came up anyhow except on rare occasion out of church, as mentioned.

    What IS the reasoning behind women not praying in mixed company? Is this a common belief in churches, or am I just happening to join the very few churches that hold to this?

    *edited to say why NOT rather than why. sigh...*

    [ January 05, 2006, 11:38 AM: Message edited by: Gina L ]
     
  2. sovgrace79

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    Don't know. Our church has a Wednesday evening prayer service, which we open with a short devotional and then take prayer requests. We have the pastor start off prayer, and then people can pray out loud (one at a time) as they are led. We encourage people to not "wax eloquent" for minutes at a time, so that everyone gets a chance to pray who wants to. However, we encourage people to pray as many times as they want. Finally, when an hour is up, or nobody has prayed out loud in a period of time, we close the service. Men and women both pray.
     
  3. TaterTot

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    i think its a hold over of the erroneous teaching of "let not the women speak in church..." One Wed night, DH asked ONLY the ladies to lead our in prayer. That was really a neat time.
     
  4. just-want-peace

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    Glory be!!

    Someone is actually questioning their taught/learned beliefs to see if there is TRULY a scriptural basis, or just "man's" manipulation of God's word

    Just think how much more civil many of the discussions on the BB would be if everybody were willing to check their pet beliefs against scripture.
     
  5. Helen

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    Last night was interesting. There were three couples and Gina, so four gals and three guys. The Bible study was very interactive with a lot of discussion back and forth. Then Barry asked one of the men to lead off in the closing prayer. Then the other man picked up. Barry closed, but only after I quietly asked him to after a period of protracted silence. He couldn't figure out why none of us women prayed!

    I figured that if I prayed, as the hostess, it would put pressure on the other women and they did not seem to feel either comfortable or led to pray. Although I am very comfortable with prayers by both men and women (and children, if they are present), I try to be sensitive to others as well.

    It may only be tradition with some that only the men pray, or that mostly the men pray, but when that happens, I have learned to simply accept it. I know how I used to feel when I was new to group studies when everybody had prayed and then there was me....I hated that pressure and I found that afterwards, at other studies, instead of thinking about others' words during their prayers, I was busy 'crafting' my own prayer so that I wouldn't be standing out like a sore thumb!

    So I can understand the tradition of men only or mostly praying, but I feel just as comfortable now with any of us praying who are there, regardless of sex or age.
     
  6. RayMarshall19

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    First let me say that I am NOT trying to tell anyone exactly what they are to believe about the roles and responsibilities of Christian men and women. I just want everyone to understand that these roles are NOT based on “tradition” or “customs” but rather on scripture. Please consider the following:

    Ephesians 5:22-23: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church

    I Timothy 2:11-14: A woman must learn quietly with all submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man. She must remain quiet. For Adam was formed first and then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, because she was fully deceived, fell into transgression.

    (Note: It is my understanding the Greek words for man and woman are the same as for husband and wife and that the context determines the translation. Also, this is not an exhaustive list but it illustrates the point.)

    In this limited sample, Paul gives three reasons why men and women have different roles and responsibilities.

    1. The husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church.
    2. Adam was formed first.
    3. Adam was not deceived but woman was deceived.

    None of the above is based on HUMAN tradition or custom and none of the above has CHANGED since Paul wrote them, so I know of no reason why these scriptures, and other similar scriptures, should not still be valid.

    Addressing your original question, Gina, I believe many people interpret the I Timothy passage, above, to mean that women should not pray in the presence of men. Not everybody agrees with this interpretation. But nobody should consider this, or any other, God-breathed scripture “obsolete” just because SECULAR "traditions" and "customs" have changed. .
     
  7. computerjunkie

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    Interesting discussion.

    I personally believe anyone should be able to pray when the Holy Spirit leads them to pray. If a woman is led to pray with men present, I don't think God is displeased. I believe God loves for His children to pray, regardless of who is present when they do so.

    Let's use the example Gina and Helen gave. There are 4 women and 3 men in a Bible study group. What if one of the ladies is not saved and she is led to pray to accept Christ. Should she not do this because men are present?

    CJ
     
  8. Gina B

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    Ray, thank you for your input.
    It sounds as if your angle is that based on what the scriptures provided say, it is reasonable to believe that women should not pray when there is a man present.

    Now, I'm not arguing that you're wrong, but I am questioning how you gather that from those particular scriptures, as prayer is used to: praise, thank, and honor God, and to make requests for others in need of healing or the comfort of the Holy Spirit and such. It does not appear to be a manner of leading or teaching others, it does appear to be communion with God through speech. Will you show me a different explanation of what prayer is if I'm mistaken, or where prayer is said to be a way of leading or teaching people, so I will understand how those verses do relate to prayer?
     
  9. RayMarshall19

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    Gina:

    I appreciate your not wanting to argue but it wouldn't be possible to argue with me because I never actually stated what my convictions are about women speaking in church or praying in the presence of men. In your original post you said,

    "What IS the reasoning behind women not praying in mixed company? Is this a common belief in churches, or am I just happening to join the very few churches that hold to this?"

    I think many of the posts on this website fall, unfortunately, into two categories. Some cite scripture but take a very narrow-minded approach, denying the validity of all convictions that differ from their own. Others are based on "personal opinion" and not on scripture at all. These people seem to think if they are Christian and it makes them feel "warm and fuzzy" then it must be right.

    You asked for reasoning and I simply provided reasoning based on scripture that is as valid now as when it was writeen. I simply want you to understand that those who embrace the "silent women" concept don't do so because of custom or tradition. Their belief is grounded in scripture.

    BUT, it is NOT my place to tell you what you should believe. It is YOUR responsibility to search the scriptures and develop your own conviction. DON"T take MY word or ANYBODY ELSE'S word without checking it out for yourself. This applies to the current issue and to ALL others.

    If you would like to discuss this concept more please send me a personal meesage or email me at [email protected]
     
  10. Thankful

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    Usually in our Morning Service only men pray, but I don't think it is a rule in our church because in the evening and Wednesday night services, women pray.

    Further we have a large group of adults that meet before Sunday School Class and the Leader who is also Chairman of the Deacons has called on me to pray on a number of occasions. Further, in this group, women read scripture and give devotionals.

    I don't see a problem with women praying in any situation or service. It is definitely an honor to be asked to lead a group in prayer. It is also a humbling experience to be able to talk directly with our God.

    How can a woman praying to God be perceived as exercising authority over man?

    Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.
    Matthew 18:19 KJV
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    The only scripture I find that speaks directly to women's praying is I Cor 11:5-6, where Paul cautions women not to pray or prophesy with their heads uncovered. I believe an argument can be made from the context that Paul is saying that women can pray in church or elsewhere in the presence of men, but must do so with their heads covered. V.15 says the covering is her hair. This is not the thread to discuss all the ramifications of hair, etc. except to say it seems that Paul has placed only one criterion on a woman's praying in a congregation or group context

    Tom Butler
     
  12. Gina B

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    Ray, I assumed you were taking the position, personally, that praying in mixed groups isn't right, and using those verses for the scriptural proof. I'm sorry, I should have asked before responding.
    It does help to get the opinions of others when looking these things up. So far, I haven't been able to justify my own "no women praying in mixed groups" opinion, and while I am seeking that out, I still am curious as to the ideas other people have and what they use to justify it.
    I would enjoy hearing more from you and appreciate the offer to take it private, although I do find it preferable to stay on the open forum.
    Gina
     
  13. RayMarshall19

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    Gina:

    As I said in my initial reply to you, the list of verses I provided was just some examples, not an exhaustive study, on the roles of Christian women/men/husbands/wives. It was simply intended to demonstrate that those who believe women should be silent in church base this belief on scripture, not obsolete tradition or custom.

    I think many Christians make one of the following mistakes when they form their convictions:

    1. They select the conviction that just makes them fell good ("warm and fuzzy") and don't search the scriptures at all.

    2. They begin with a pre-conceived notion, often based on personal opinion and/or previous teaching, and:

    a. don't test it against scripture at all or

    b. search ONLY for scriptures that support the pre-conceived notion.

    I believe there have already been posts in this discussion that fall in to the categories above. It may be helpful for you to review them because one good way to develop good reasoning skills is to study bad ones.

    There are a lot more New Testament scriptures dealing with the relationships and responsibilities of Christian men and women, both at church and at home. I recommend that you read them all and form your own convictions independent of your previous teaching and what you read on this forum. A lot of intelligent and articulate folks post here and their ideas can sound quite good. Just make sure you evaluate them with scripture as your ONLY guide. And remember that scripture and what it means does not "change with the times".
     
  14. preacher

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    Gina...
    One time in my life, just once, was I in a service where a woman was asked to pray. It was our home church in the mountains, & our pastor asked my Aunt to close with prayer. I've heard a lot of praying in my time, but this night will always stay with me. She had the sweetest talk with the Lord, Thanking Him & Praising Him, Asking Him to Save, to Guide, To Watch over that litte flock, even asking Him to tell Herschel (she'a a widow of a Preacher) that it wouldn't be long till they saw each other again.
    Thank you Gina...hadn't thought about that in quite awhile, but I Thank my Lord some good memories DO stay!!
    NO! there ain't a thing wrong with a woman leading in prayer. You are right in your reasons, anyone can commune with our Lord, like my Aunt Christine!
     
  15. RayMarshall19

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    Preacher,

    That is a beautiful story and I don't want to denigrate it in any way but . . . .

    There are women whom scripture has convicted to remain silent in church and NOT pray in mixed company.

    Your statement "there ain't a thing wrong with a woman leadin in prayer" may be true for some but it is definintely not true for all.
     
  16. Gina B

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    Thanks Preacher.
    Christine...that's a beautiful name. My daughter is AnnaChristine.
     
  17. mnw

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    I believe it comes down to the roles that God has given us to fulfill. In the church, as in the home, the man is to lead, just as CHrist does in the Church.

    Very often in a service when someone is asked to pray it is phrased as, "Would ----- please lead us to the Lord in prayer?" So, for that reason if a lady prays she is in a sense actively leading in a church.

    In a joint prayer meeting I am comfortable with a man starting the prayer meeting and ladies praying also, but the leader should be a man.

    This is a contentious position but it is how I see Scripture. I have often felt women make better preachers but that is not what God has ordained. [​IMG]

    I would agree with RayMarshall19 pretty much.

    My position would be that it would unScriptural for a lady to lead in prayer but not unScriptural to pray in a man's presence.

    MNW
     
  18. RayMarshall19

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    Perhaps I did not explain myself adequately.

    It's not up to me or you or any other human to decide when it is proper for an individual woman to pray, whether to lead a prayer or simply to pray in mixed company. This should be determined by the individual woman's conviction.

    Several years ago I attended a Bible Church where the policy was that women did NOT pray in mixed company. I currently attend a Southern Baptist church where women DO pray in mixed company. I'm fairly certain that there are some women there who are convicted that this practice would be wrong for them, but (hopefully) do not condemn those women who do it.
     

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