Praying with Protestants.

I work in a Christian organisation where I am the only Catholic amongst Protestants.

When a few of us were in the office someone said we should pray for someone particular, seemed a nice thing, we all praying the Our Father for example but they prayed in a different manner something like, *Thank You for this that and the other, help us to do this that and the other, look after him, her etc.[/l] It went on and on and they each took turns.

What is that all about? It reminded me of Jesus mentioning babbling in regards to prayers.

I felt strange and I knew they wanted me to pray something too but just stayed silent, should I have started belting out Hail Mary’s or what?

Is this an opportunity to teach them to pray like we do?


Well the kind of praying you describe is the way I have been taught to pray. It’s interesting to hear it equated with the ‘babbling of the pagans’ that Jesus talks about, as most uninformed protestants would say that’s what Catholics do by praying more traditional prayers. If it comes up again, I personally would pray the Our Father, as most protestants would recognize it and be able to pray along. I know we taught it to our kids from a young age, and we were baptists.

It’s a very fascinating topic, though, I shall be reading along with interest.

I think belting out a Hail Mary would have been really good.

I had a Baptist friend. He once told me there is no need to do all that mumbo jumbo (sign of the cross) or to say Our Fathers or Mail Marys.

Well, I wasn’t of the understanding of your friend with regards to the Our Father, or the Lord’s Prayer as we called it.

I can’t see that there is anything wrong with praying this way. Our priest was talking about the very same thing the other day at RCIA and said that just talking to God, as you would normally talk is a perfectly valid way to pray. I know I do this myself and my prayers feel more ‘real’ when I am just having a conversation with God.

I also love the formal, familiar prayers, like the Our Father and Hail Mary. All prayer is invaluable. :slight_smile:

Well, if prayer is defined as the raising of mind and heart to God, then there really isn’t any WRONG way to pray. However, praying with Protestants can give the impression you approve of all things Protestant to them. That is giving scandal and misleading to those who you’d be praying with. As for the “way” in which they prayed, we ARE told by Jesus to ask for all we need from the Father and in that regard, asking for specific things or events to turn in one’s favor isn’t wrong, but should nevertheless be qualified with the conclusion, “…if it be Thy will.” That is so that the mind and heart not only stay resigned to God’s will, but so the person praying won’t be putting God to the test as in “…if you really ARE God, you’ll do my will…” or “…if I have faith enough, then You will do such and such for me…”

I think it is nice you are in a work environment that allows for prayer. If you want to evangelize by example, when you go tot the lunch room, before you open that brown bag, bow your head, make the sign of the Cross and say “Bless me O Lord, and these Thy gifts which I’m about to receive through Christ our Lord. Amen.” Do this every day and you’ll not only be showing ONE of the ways we Catholics pray, but you’ll be opening the door to questions about prayers of Catholics in general. You’ll be setting a good example and actually evangelizing.


As a previous poster pointed out, they were doing “intercessory prayer” - - - - you know, prayer requests! This is hardly “babbling”.

Just mention any prayer requests you might have - - - - a sick friend or family member, someone you know needs a job, praying for world peace, etc.

I think responding with a Hail Mary during intercessory prayer instead of a prayer request or just remaining silent would be a bit awkward, just my opinion.

I agree, especially since Protestants do not appreciate our doctrines about Mary.

Intercessory prayer, such as the group was doing, is often just the prayer of the heart, composed with one’s own words to God, and is certainly being heard by Him. I’m surprised, OP, that you are unfamiliar with this type of praying?

As a young boy I was in the Salvation Army and I only ever heard the Our Father + Doxology. When I became a Catholic the Hail Mary, Glory Be etc. were added. Apart from praying the odd Rosary after Mass with a couple of others many years ago I had never prayed with anyone before, just me.

My being silent is partly feeling uneasy in the same way if I were sat in a group and we were taking it in turns just to say name, where you grew up etc. It just felt like someone was talking to me about something and the first person prayed for the length of a decade of the Rosary, I had never heard anything like this before.

I just know it won’t be long before I am asked to lead the prayers in the group and know that I will be praying in a different way to the others and even though I would feel like praying the Fatima prayer or something but I don’t want to feel afterwards that I am trying to put myself in a different box nor do I want to pray in their way as it doesn’t feel right for me.

I hope you weren’t offended, I couldn’t think of another word for babbling.

All the Christians that I work with are in the reformed area although most don’t know their denomination. I get on really well with them but it is all new to me.

You should just pray however you feel comfortable praying. I’m sure those folks won’t think any less of you, if their spirit is in the right place. I would hope that you consider using “conversational prayer” in your quiet private moments with Our Father, rather than always use formal recited prayers. He loves to listen to us, heart to heart. :wink:

I don’t generally unless I am asking for something particular and pouring my heart out which I then follow with usual prayers/chaplets.

Not offended in the least. My advice is to pray as you feel comfortable praying - I know that when I first became a Baptist Christian the idea of praying intercessory prayer like that off the cuff, was a very daunting prospect - I think those of us who have prayed like that exclusively for some time forget just how intimidating it can be :slight_smile:

I have a group of friends that I talk to about faith. The group is protestant except for me and a guy who is Greek orthodox. First day in the group we were talking and next thing I know everyone had their eyes closed looking down, like we went from talking to praying in a split second. Growing up where you start and end prayers with the sign of the cross, this seemed very weird to me and we never did an our father or anything, just seemed like they were having a conversation with God as if he was sitting on the couch with us. Anymore I respect their way of prayer and do the sign if the cross and do my own.

Extemporaneous prayer has always been a sticky wicket for me. However, I learned to do it with a pattern and out has deepened Mt prayer, life immensely.

How about a compromise by using semi structured prayer? Try the ACTS Model (based off of the Our Father):

Contrition / Confession*

*optional in public setting

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