I hope you are doing well. I'd like to ask a quick question. The other day at church a brother was chairing the communion while a sister was going to share. Before she started sharing, she began by saying "let's go to God in prayer" -- and then started praying. Some people were shocked and not sure what to think.
This was a first for me in over 25 years as a disciple to see a woman pray on a Sunday morning. It could be because I've only been a part of two congregations during that span, but I'm not sure. I have done some reading on the topic, but would love to know if you have any thoughts.
Why are we shocked? In the New Testament the sisters prayed with the brothers (Acts 1:14).
Paul expected the women would lead prayers (as well as give certain messages) — just start reading 1 Cor 11.
I suspect we are shocked because sometimes our traditions are at odds with the Bible.
I've visited several hundred congregations within the Restoration Movement. I can probably count on one hand those that permit women to pray in front of the church. You have been a Christian 25 years and seen this only once. I am in my 40th year as a Christian, and have seen it only 5 times. So it's not that you have a skewed picture of church practice.
Actually, for the last 25 years I have been encouraging this practice. Such is the inertia of tradition!
Two final points.
- First, this is obviously not a salvation matter. Opinions will differ. The most we can realistically hope for is to strive for more consistent interpretation of scripture.
- Second, you might want to take a look at the articles on prayer at this website, those on the women's role, and also the chapter notes on 1 Cor 11 in N.T. Chapter Notes.