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"Tebowing" Kindles Debate About Public Prayer

Heisman-winning Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has inspired a name for the act of taking a knee in prayer while others around him are doing something else: “Tebowing.” Tebow, long known for his faithful speech and behavior, knelt in prayer once again before this past weekend’s game against the Detroit Lions, sparking more debate about prayer in public. Cathy Lynn Grossman of USA Today said Tebow told her that he’s not “holier than thou” but a “real person.” But his regularly prayerful behavior prompted a fan sitting in a New  York bar to coin the “Tebowing” description for anyone kneeling in prayer in public in the midst of others doing other activities.

In fact, The Washington Post reported that fan Jared Kleinstein launched a website inviting users to submit photos of themselves and others “Tebowing.” He has since uploaded over a thousand photos to the site and has racked up almost 400,000 viewers in just a few days.

Even with the fascination of Tebow’s prayer habits, Tebow himself seems unaffected by the extra attention. According to The Washington Post, A child undergoing cancer treatments even tweeted Tebow, saying he was “Tebowing while he was chemo-ing.” Tebow commented, “How cool is that? That’s worth it right there. If that gives him any encouragement or puts a smile on his face or gives him encouragement to pray, that’s really awesome. And that’s completely worth it for me.”

We’re wondering…what’s the fascination all of a sudden with public prayer? Who is offended by personal prayer in public settings and why? Submit your thoughts and comments below.

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.