Ashamed of praying in public

I know saying grace is not a must-do but when friends come over I chicken out and don’t do it, and I know it is a sin to don’t do things like praying you are used to do because of shame. Also, today I was praying a Rosary and my father passed by (he called me a fanatic once) and I was grabbing my cell phone to read the last prayer (you know, the one that says “Hail Mother of Mercies… valley fo tears…”) but when I did and I saw my father I kind of draw my cell phone before me to make it look like i was using the cell phone instead of praying, it was so fast I couldn’t even think though but I did it until he went away (a few seconds later after asking me something). Pray for me please!! And are those occasions mortal sins?

I don’t see how any of this is a mortal sin. And to my knowledge, there is no obligation under pain of mortal sin to pray before meals.

I think, in general, people need to have good decision-making about public prayer and the motives behind it. Scrupulous persons should not obsess over this and know that if they omit prayers before meals in public they are not sinning mortally and may not even be sinning at all.

You need to find a spiritual director as well if these kinds of questions bother you.

When this things happen I remember when Jesus said that if you were ashamed of Him, He would be ashamed of us before His Father. I have heard people saying that it is a sin and heard people saying it is not. I really don’t know what to believe.

Only God knows whether a particular action or inaction is a sin or not.
But is your goal to please God? Then it will be hard to sin.

Maybe think about why you are ashamed of praying before meals when with friends. Is it because you think they will look down on you? Because they’re not Christians? Sometimes I feel that way because I don’t want to be thought of as a Bible thumper. I would like my actions and words to reflect my faith.
As I get older, I realize that my faith is my business, and I feel more comfortable saying grace before meals. Often I forget. But when I do, I figure people can think what they like. And someone once said they found it encouraging to see someone else say grace.

Of course, we are fanatics, meaning we are orthodox Christians, We intend to put God first in our lives, imperfect as our efforts are. If someone else has a problem with that, we can only pray for them. It’s more important what God thinks of us.
God bless.

Hey, I know how you feel, I am like this all the time even if it would be a fellow Christian who catches me praying… or with whom I would pray before a meal. I agree that we should not be ashamed to pray… If we feel shame, that, I believe, is a “disordered” emotion. We can’t control our emotions directly, but we can control our actions. Honestly when it comes to praying in private and people “catching you,” I have made many mistakes. The more often I try to pretend I am doing something else, the harder it becomes to just pray and not care what people think. We just have to make a deliberate choice to pray even if people will see us, even if it makes our skin crawl and we feel quite unpleasant. I used to be terrified of making the sign of the cross at unusual times (still am sometimes), but now I can do it pretty easily (at least in the car). You just have to keep doing these things even if it scares you, and eventually you don’t care anymore what people think. of course, it is easier said than done.

Also, regarding prayer before meals. If the people aren’t Christian, or religious, it might be weird to pray before meals… but if they too are in the habit of praying before meals, or you think they would not be adverse to it, then you might ask, “Do you mind if we pray?” and yes the sweat may run down your face and whatever (it does for me and I am petrified) but it is truly a matter of forcing yourself to… but praying before meals because you feel like you MUST and not because you want to, and are focused on the meaning of it… try to refocus and think about WHY you would pray before meals… is it because you HAVE to, or because you want to bring the focus to God when perhaps with friends you become distracted, etc.

I really don’t know why I am ashamed. It is probably because I am afraid they may mock me. Fanatism is what takes place when you do extreme things that even contradic what your religion says because of extreme traditionalism, like the muslim terrorists and the crusades, if you will.

It has become quite a must for me because I feel like if I stop it would be a sin because scruples.

Being mocked for upholding Heaven’s dignity is one of the beatitudes, so no troubles there. :getholy:

Soooo, it’s okay if I don’t?

yes, it’s okay if you don’t. Jesus said, ‘if you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father.’ you’re not denying Him just because you’re not comfortable saying grace in front of non christians. and Jesus said, ‘when you pray, go in your room and close the door.’

You know those movies where the rich kid makes friends with a poor girl but when he sees the poor girl when he’s with his friends, he totally ignores her because his friends are there with him?

How do you think the girl feels?

Now, there are times when it would be ok to omit your prayers, like when it would aggravate someone to the point of turning him off from God, of if a person in authority told you not to, but I would encourage you to make a small start, little mortifications, by trying it when you are not with anyone you know and moving up from there.


True that! Thanks bisco, you’re always there to answer my questions! God Bless you all!!

It would be a venial sin if it were. I do not do that you mention because my friends know I go too Mass, for example. So I don’t hide God from them. The thing is that most of them are not evangelised and non-practicant so I am like a priest, an extreme Catholic for them and I don’t want to be seen like that, I will start doing in with them, slowly, but I’ll try.

Yes, Jesus did say that, but it also doesn’t mean you are obligated under pain of mortal sin or maybe even sin to do the kinds of things you are mentioning. It’s great that you listen to our Lord, but please, please listen to the wisdom of the Church as She interprets His teachings.

What the kinds of questions you ask boil down to is something called an obligation. Sadly, many Catholics do not understand this.

The scrupulous conscience is not bound by obligations or doubts.

So, it was not a sin and I am not obliged?

One thing to consider is that while one person might think your prayer is silly, another one might be inspired by it. My family has been complimented many times by complete strangers for saying grace in restaurants. You may not get outright compliments, but I am sure that if you make the sign of the cross and pray silently before you eat a meal at a restaurant, that there will occasionally be someone who notices and is impressed. So maybe when you’re at that moment of decision, where you’re worried about what the person sitting at the table with you might think, try to think of the anonymous person at a nearby table, who will be inspired by your prayer. Put them in your mind, and maybe it will be a little easier.

Also, remember that it is only going to be surprising for the person with you once. After that, they will remember that you are the person who says grace before you eat. At that point, any normal person with common sense will just wait the 5 seconds that it takes you to cross yourself and pray silently, and then continue with the conversation. It actually seems pretty fanatical to me, for someone to go to the trouble to mock you for saying grace. If this happens, you might look at them cockeyed, and say, “I’m just saying grace, no big deal.”

One thing I like to say when people mock me or make an unreasonable criticism, is “oh it’s ok, you’ll get over it.” A little snippy, but sometimes snippy is deserved. A more polite response might be, “hmmm…anyway…” (and change the topic, or let them change the topic). Really, someone mocking you for praying is being an immature busybody, and should be the one to feel foolish, rather than putting you on the defensive.

Yeah, we are teenagers, we are immature. There are some immature adult too, you know. Don’t worry, I’ll try to start doing it.

Yes :slight_smile: The saints I have read seem to agree that starting out BIG is a sign of pride, and that we should start small. I understand that you don’t want to push your friends away from God, but as time goes on and they see you growing in your faith but still being a great person to hang out with and maybe even noticeably maturing, they will be left with an overall good impression.

Just a note: my Catholic friend, our Catholic kids, and I all went to a fast food place and prayed before eating. One of the people working there saw that and came over to ask where she could go to Mass as she was new to the area. That was a wonderful thing to happen when the children were all there :slight_smile:

Something similar has happened. I have this mormon friend and we once went for lunch before having to go back to school and I prayed before eating (I suspected he also did at his home) and after I did he was surprised and happy, then said that he would always back me up, I guess he felt identified, he must be in a similar situation. It’s a shame he’s not in the right way, he told me his father was a Catholic and converted to mormonism, maybe because the bad evangelisation that there is nowadays.
I didn’t tell him where to go to Mass like you did, though :wink: but it was a nice moment.

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