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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Prayer Posts and Prayer Dares #8

This post focuses on the “quirkiness” of group prayer—the people and the prayers we all put up with and/or don’t know what to do with in group prayer gatherings.

And, in no certain order—as they pop out of my brain—here are a list of things that will make me want to put my head in a freezer in group prayer settings : : :

Prayer gossip. This is where a “prayer request” is shared as a covert tattletale operation or a way to fill everyone in on something. i.e. “We should really pray for Susan. I don’t know if it is true or not but I heard she is having an affair with her neighbor. It is probably true. She has been acting weird. Let’s pray.”

The "unspoken" prayer request. Who started this one? I don’t understand. i.e. “I have an unspoken prayer request.” Thanks, Joe. “Lord, we pray for Joe’s unspoken request. You know what is going on. Please deal with that.”

The long talker. This is the guy you can’t shut up in the prayer meeting who wants to talk about himself a lot and/or whine about his life and/or prays for a stinking long time without giving anyone else a chance. The problem may not lie with this guy as much as it does with the leader who doesn’t step in and set boundaries.

The holy roller. This is the person who either speaks in tongues and makes everyone freak out or prays so loud and fast and adds so much “energy” that everyone is looking for the exit door.

The “share your prayer requests” time. This is the time when everyone chats about what they need to pray about before they pray. This usually eats up most of the prayer time and then you get to hear it all again in the short “during prayer” version.

The “praise report” time. Yeah, this one always weirds me out. This is when you get to hear all about things that happened throughout people’s week that they are happy for. They range from great things like “I got a new job” to trivial things like “I found a new lady to do my nails.”

The prayer echo. i.e. “Yes, Lord. I echo what Steve and John and Tim and Joel have said. Yes.

I like the sound of my own voice person. This person prays very verbose prayers. Poetry. Long. Loud. Pause. Pitch. Pace. Punch. Their prayer is a COM201 rhetoric exercise. Very well spoken. And they know it.

“Mmmmm. Yes, Lord.” This person is pretty self explanatory but, just in case we need help, this is the person that doesn’t say much in the group except, “Mmmmmm, yes, Lord.” Over and over again. It’s not that it’s bad to agree with one another. But . . .

Touchy prayer person. This person feels the need to reach out and grab you during prayer. Maybe it’s the knee. Maybe it’s the back rub or shoulder squeeze. What makes it awkward is that they are the only ones doing it. It’s different if everyone is holding hands. But, somewhere in the middle of “let’s pray” and “amen” this person surprises you with the touch. If the hand goes on the shoulder it can be especially weird because they usually don’t know they are pushing you into the ground with their hand weight. Can actually be okay if it is a friend.

The out-of-context Bible verse prayer. This may not be weird for everyone but it always derails me. This is when someone is praying about something and they decide they will “claim” a Bible verse as proof their prayer is legit but it is totally out of context and not what the passage means. i.e. God, we are so glad there are three of us praying here tonight because we believe ‘where two or three are gathered you are there.” (that is not what the verse means outside the context of Matthew 18 and furthermore, God is “present” when even one is praying).

The “let me fill you in” prayer. This is the prayer where someone tells a story as they pray. The story is not for God’s benefit. It is for everyone else. i.e. “Lord, today I was sitting watching the kids play bla bla bla . . . when I remembered that time back in college bla bla bla . . . and it was then you made it very clear bla bla bla . . . and in light of that I pray for my friend Don next to me . . . who is very much like my neighbor Hank who just last night said blab la bla . . .

The bomb-drop prayer. This can be a doozy. You don’t want this one to happen. This is where the person has something to say but doesn’t know how to tell everyone so they drop it like it’s hot in the middle of the prayer. i.e. “Lord, you know that we are getting a divorce” or “Lord, not everyone knows here but I have been lying for years about stealing that money” or, “God, you know I am having an affair with so-and-so” etc. When the prayer bomb is dropped it is intended to diffuse the shock of the person’s news because—after all, they are telling God and you can’t interrupt.

The Bible study/preacher prayer. This is the prayer where someone believes they have some wisdom to impart to you and they use the prayer time to do so. i.e. “Lord, before we came in today I couldn’t help but notice John was having a hard time disciplining his child. Lord, we trust your word is true when it says to train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from there and we pray for John that he will understand this truth and apply it to his life. Lord, we know you desire John to be a good parent. Your word also says . . .”

The prayer you pray all the time and don’t do anything about it prayer. This prayer is a weird one. An example is the guy who always prays God will give him an opportunity to share his faith at work. Got news for you buddy . . . you have been praying that prayer for 10 years. The opportunities have come and gone. What you need is to get off your butt and talk to someone. Someone please tell this guy God already answered his prayer and he needs to move on.

Big words guy. Self explanatory. Knows the prayer jargon and uses it. Thick.

The King James prayer. Leave the multiple thee’s and thou’s where they belong--17th Century England. Thee works well sometimes in a song because it rhymes well with “me” and “see” but, other than that . . .

Break out in song prayer. Now, this can actually be cool sometimes but nothing will make everyone more uncomfortable in no time at all than when someone breaks out in song during prayer expecting everyone to join along but . . . no one knows the song. Obviously, the person “thought” everyone would know it or they wouldn’t have started it. But, nope. Wow, this is awkward. The words slowly die, the volume goes down, then there is the awkward “where do I finish the song?” moment. Exit doors?

Think of any others?

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