Do You Have To Be Religious To Pray?

PhariseeHave you noticed the hot debate recently about religion on social media? Here’s the gist: Religion is bad, so anyone who’s truly spiritual won’t bother with it.

I suppose we couldn’t avoid this attempt to pit religion and spirituality against each other, given the bad press religion suffers these days.

With so much violence done in the name of religion, the average person has little use for “organized religion”. Few bother to separate one religion from the other, lumping terrorists and unselfish servants of mankind in the same batch.

At the risk of defending my tribe too much (I’ve worked for religious groups for over 35 years), I’ll say that religion isn’t the problem… evil is!

One of Jesus’ own brothers, James, wrote: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27 NIV)

Did you notice that some religion is “pure and faultless”? Which means that some religion is “impure” and full of “fault”.

So, how can a believer merge true spirituality with healthy religion?

It helps to keep this thought:  True spirituality is the inward relationship with God through Christ. And healthy religion is participation in the public outworking of that inner relationship in worship and service to others.

One can participate in both at the same time, building a balanced prayer life and an outward focus on serving people.

Religion without true spirituality is dangerous; Spirituality without healthy religion becomes stagnant narcissism.

Do you find it easier to pray when you’re alone, or when you’re praying with a group? Share your thoughts with us…


  1. I find praying with a group the most powerful because we wait together for God’s leading in what to pray. Often one of us introduces a prayer subject (our church, city nation, families, etc) and God gives each of us a piece of the puzzle, a word to pray on that subject.

  2. I like your perspective, Linda. I myself have noticed the same thing as I’ve been praying more with groups in the past few years. Sounds like you have some wonderful people in your group.

    Keith Roberts Sent from my iPhone

  3. I am comfortable praying alone or as a group, depending on the need. As stated above the group can seek the lord for a specific need or have a pre-determined topic. When I am by myself I can pray as loud as I want plus as I pray in tongues sometimes there won’t be anyone to be offended.(for those who don’t understand the speaking in tongues)

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