I’m going to go ahead and make a generalization. I think as women we’re often more self conscience of how we pray around people. I don’t think I’m actually correct in this, but I normally see more men who are willing to pray in public than women. And the bigger the group, obviously, the less and less willing you become.
Our old small group ran about 16-25 women a week. It was big. It made it a lot more terrifying to speak up about what you saw in the text or to get vulnerable. You could always count on about 5 people to talk and that’s it.
We’ve moved which means a new small group. When everyone is together I think it’s about 12. Last week we split men and women and had a night of prayer. There were only 5 of us. And it was perfect. Do you know how much easier it is to be honest about what you need prayer for when there’s just a handful of you? Or how about praying in front of people? So much easier than in front of 15 other people.
Naturally we’re all terrified of how we pray. Do we say, “Lord” or “Father God” or “just” too much? Did we forget someone’s prayer request? We surely can’t be as eloquent as the next person.
I was listening to the sermon from our old church. They’re going through the book of Psalms and the pastor said, “Community is where you learn to pray. In your private life is where you practice”. What’s this mean for us? We shouldn’t be ashamed when we pray. We shouldn’t be embarrassed or concerned with how we sound. Community is a place to learn from the strengths of others. So that we can then put it into practice. Through that community, through that rubbing of shoulders we can grow in our areas of weakness and help others grow.
That fear we have of praying in front of other people? It’s not necessary.