Is it difficult for some non Catholics to start a prayer with the sign of the cross?

I just attended a wedding reception and it was hosted by good friends who were not Catholic. Yet one gentlemen the uncle of the bride said (and I must say) a wonderful prayer (way better than I could) before dinner was served.

Yet, what puzzles me is would it have been wrong to start with the Sign Of The Cross? I mean perhaps Im making a mountain out of a molehill (and maybe tad bit disrespectful to the gentleman) that when we pray it is to God and God is Father and Son and the Holy Spirit. But rather it was more focused on Our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus.

Can it be said that there are some Christians who don’t think much about the Holy Spirit?

Opinions please.


PS, Other close relatives are Catholic

Most Protestants that I know make the Sign of the Cross.
Especially my Lutheran & Episcopal friends.
Don’t forget, they were Catholics before schisms & other terrible times. Matter of fact, my Lutheran friends call themselves catholics. They just admit they are not in communion with Rome.
Pray for them as they are still our Brothers & Sisters in Christ Jesus. :signofcross:

Ah. Thanks for the heads up.

Yes, I am aware there are non-Catholics like Anglicans who do as well. But this family are mainly from the Mar Thoma faith which I understand are from the Anglican church. Just puzzles me.


I think it’s odd to think that those brought up in a faith that doesn’t have the sign of the cross would make one. In my experience it’s not that the Holy Spirit is forgotten it’s that a majority of the focus is placed on Jesus and the selfless actions that he did for our good. It’s not that the Trinity is forgotten (as the Holy Spirit is talked about) it’s that it’s felt that Jesus died for our sins, not God or the Holy Spirit (although I recognize that you could argue that all three did but nonetheless…). So after mentioning Jesus (who died for us) the talk goes to God who is supreme, then if there’s time left (or the spirit moves them) the Holy Spirit gets mentioned.

I was aware of the many similarities between the Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church, but I never realized how many liturgical elements Lutherans observed as well until I joined this forum!

In response to your question OP, it may be the case for many Protestants (especially those of the non-denominational branches) that the Sign of the Cross comes across as being too ritualistic (and therefore too Catholic) and for that reason it is not practiced. (Some of them make an effort to distance themselves waaaaay apart from anything “dangerously” Catholic.;))

I may be wrong, but I would hazard a guess that many of them shy away from ritualistic gestures because they weird them out in a way. They may find them to be reminiscent of pagan practices in which beliefs are strongly rooted in symbolism. Or, to put it another way, it may look too much like “Mumbo Jumbo” to them. :shrug: :slight_smile:

Im leaning on to this point of view. That said, this particular person as I conveyed earlier is a Mar Thoma Christian who are in communion with the Anglican church. Maybe certain Anglicans just do not prefer the sign of the cross:shrug:


Protestants pray to God based on the model of the Lord’s Prayer, beginning by praying to God the Father. We close with “In Jesus name, Amen.” because Jesus said anything we pray for in His name will be granted to us (John 14:14) In addition, Jesus is the mediator between God and man. The Holy Spirit’s role is to teach us to pray and at times pray for us (Romans 8:26,27). So, whether we know it or not, the Trinity is at work together when we pray.

This is a good response. But Is it still difficult to mention the Holy Spirit?

You’ve already know this but even for Jesus himself instructed the Apostles to Baptise people “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. (Although this is another subject all together, I add it here because Jesus made it a point to mention the Holy Spirit even though it is understood the Holy Spirit is also working).


Note that the Sign of the Cross isn’t a requirement to start and end a prayer, it is a prayer itself. I know it is more common for Roman Catholics to start and end with the Sign of the Cross, but across traditions we will see that this varies tradition by tradition. In the Ukrainian Catholic Church, we would start a prayer with a triple Sign of the Cross, but will not end the prayer with a Sign of the Cross. In other Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Sign of the Cross is not normally part of a prayer routine or ritual, although the Byzantine Rite is heavy with reference to the Holy Trinity and any well written prayer, those made by the Fathers, the Saints, or even current day monks and priests, would have an invocation of the Holy Name of the Trinity somewhere in the prayer.

This isn’t a Catholic vs. Protestant thing, there really is a difference in tradition among the Apostolic Churches on when and how the Sign of the Cross is used in Prayer.

Thank you for this. Very informative and Ecumenical:)


My Lutheran husband always starts and ends prayer with the Sign of the Cross. Of course, he also has a few little faux pas, including the time he told me that the Nicene Creed specified “the Holy Roman Catholic Church.”

As you can imagine, theologic discussions in our household early in our marriage got a little funny (comical as well as odd) at times. I’ve since learned to smile when he comes up with something like this, and realize that by now, he’s probably Catholic by osmosis!

Protestants, especially non-denominational, evangelical, fundamentalists vehemently abstain from anything they consider “too catholic”.

Hence no Sign of the Cross, corpus on the cross, Virgin Mary (except in a Nativity scene once a year), complete OT, and especially no chapter 6 in the gospel of John (you hear them quote it when arguing the Real Presence, but have you EVER heard it used as a basis for a sermon or one of their bible studies?).

I was actually thinking about this topic a few weeks back. As others have pointed out some Protestants do make the sign of the cross and some do invoke the names of the Trinity. You’ll find this more in the churches that first broke from Rome and less in the churches that formed later. Of course there is always the issue of blending of denominations that has occurred over time. I have not made a study of it but it seems to me in places like the South the modern Baptist practice, which is very low church, probably influences other churches that could be more high church.

It seems to me there are many churches that only invoke the names of the Trinity in baptism. Other than that it is prayers to the Father and everything ‘in the name of Jesus’. I think it fair to characterize some Protestant practice as an underemphasis on the Trinity. As you move outside of Christianity to more recent religions that mimic Christianity, such as Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses, there is a rejection of the Trinity altogether.

I grew up in a church that never made the sign of the cross. While no one would say anything if you came to church and did so, you might get a couple odd looks.

Evangelicals have not forgotten about the Holy Spirit, and he is invoked in prayer as well. But Evangelicals generally close prayers “in Jesus’ name.”

I always make the Sign of the Cross in prayer. Had some funny looks at the Baptist Church I attended sometimes at first, but now most people just know I will do it and ignore it.

Being Pentecostal, we often talk and sing about the Holy Spirit a lot. Our songs will commonly ask the Holy Spirit to send his presence and release his power. When that happens, some very fundamentalist Christians will accuse us of violating some unwritten rule that we are not to pray to the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure who these fundamentalists are, but I have seen this kind of stuff written before.

About the sign of the cross, I never knew it was suppose to be a prayer. Just thought it was a ritual people did for protection or something . . .


I think the further one goes away from origins of Christianity it turns ugly like this. :frowning:


Yeah I don’t get it. I read one article by a critic who made a big deal about the song “Holy Spirit Rain Down” by Darlene Zschech of Hillsong. It has such offending lyrics like,

Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down
Oh Comforter and Friend
How we need Your touch again
Holy Spirit, rain down, rain down
Let Your power fall
Let Your voice be heard
Come and change our hearts
As we stand on Your word
Holy Spirit, rain down

His reasoning was that no where in Scripture are we ever commanded to pray to the Holy Spirit.

I’m always amazed that some try to “make a deal” of certain words not being used…or certain gestures not being used…or certain “prayers” not being recited is somehow indicitive of a lack of some “spirituality”.

Friends don’t make the sign of the cross…no reason to…if the “sign of the cross” is a “prayer” as some have claimed…am I to assume that not making the sign somehow “lessens” the efficacy of the prayer said?

As far as “invoking” members of the Trinity…why do we have to single out specific members of the Trinity?

We pray to God…which comprises Father, Son and Holy Spirit…one cannot pray to the Father without the Son and Spirit “hearing” it…and the same holds true for any other “member” addressed.

The Spirit of God indwells us…and assists us in our prayers…sometimes praying for us with “groanings that cannot be uttered” when we are at a loss how or what to pray for.

For most Protestants…it being “too Catholic” has absolutely NOTHING to do with it…it’s simply not a part of our respective traditions.:shrug:

Believe it or not…Protestants do not give Catholicism a second thought for the most part…I think Catholics LIKE to believe they are in the forefront of Protestant thought…but trust me friends…you are WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY down the list of things we consider when we consider our spiritual practices and lives.:slight_smile:

This is likely the case. Half of my family is Lutheran and half is Catholic. I am Lutheran and as a child I never made the sign of the cross when we said grace with our Catholic family members. Now I do, but my sisters still don’t. My pastor says we can, interestingly he taught us the way Eastern Catholics do, but he admitted no one would likely take up the habit as it is considered “too Catholic.”

Don’t be offended the uncle did not make the sign of the cross; I know I would never expect a Catholic to do something that is considered “non-Catholic” as it would likely make them very uncomfortable or even offend their conscience.

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