Question: "How should a Christian view prayer in public schools?"
Answer: Prayer in public schools is a delicate, sensitive issue. In a perfect situation, all people would graciously and humbly acknowledge the biblical view of God and His sovereign control over the entire world. In that case, there would be prayer in all public facilities and places. As Psalm 33:12 states, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord." Praise the Lord that, when Jesus returns to reign over this earth, this will be the case. Until that day, a Christian should view prayer in public schools with wisdom and discernment.
Although our country was founded upon biblical principles and the culture was directed by the Judeo-Christian ethic for the first 150-plus years, the U.S. is currently not a Christian nation. We are marked by great diversity of opinion and religion. One of the absolute blessings of this country is the government-mandated freedom of expression and religion. There are so many countries where the government mandates the practice of one religion and/or outlaws the practice of another. In our diverse, tolerant, freedom-based country, one of the sticky issues regarding formalized, school-sponsored religious events is that, if the school sponsors Christian events, they would have to sponsor events from all religions. It is easy to say that we want prayer in schools until we realize that those prayers may not just include Christian prayers. This is definitely an issue to think about as we develop our opinions regarding this issue.
How should a Christian view prayer in public schools? First, according to Romans 13, 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Peter 2, we are to submit to and pray for all authority, including those in authority in public schools. An application of this would be to pray that we as a culture return to our Christian heritage through revival and salvation of our country.
Second, although Christian-based prayer is not sponsored in public schools, Christian kids can and should pray while attending school and pray for other kids, teachers and administrators. The believing children should view their schools as a field for evangelism and receive training from parents and churches for this purpose. No one can stop a child from praying, only from organizing a specific prayer event on school grounds. As the old saying goes, ďAs long as there are exams, there will be prayer in schools."
One thing we as Christians shouldn't do is look to government-sponsored organizations, such as the public schools, to reinforce our Christian values and beliefs. The Bible tells us that the world, including government, is opposed to the things of God. If our hope for our country is based upon electing the right officials, more than likely we will be disappointed. Our hope for our country is based upon God's spiritual intervention as the gospel is proclaimed to those who are lost in all places, including the public schools.