The Extended Sermon Prayer

Posted: November 1, 2010 in Iglesia
Tags: , , ,

“Bow with me as we pray,” the preacher says solemnly.  After allowing a few moments to tiptoe past, he exhales determinedly through his nostrils.  And then, he doesn’t pray.

He spends the next ten minutes throwing out all these hypotheticals about the congregants.  He ponders which types of individuals should have been touched by the compelling message he just delivered and then he encourages them to be touched.  He reaches out to the unchurched, the overchurched, and the mis-churched.  He outlines every possible scenario and basically makes you feel that if you do not make a decision – any decision – in response to the divinely-inspired sermon you just heard, then you’re simply denying God.

While everyone has their heads bowed and their eyes closed, in total prayer mode, Mr. Preacher talks to us.  But our eyes are closed.  But he’s talking to us.  But we can’t see him.

Does anyone else find this odd?  I mean, how often do you tell people to close their eyes before you speak to them about something you feel is very important?  Even better, how often does this happen:

Your Friend: AH!  This food looks delicious!  Would you bless it?
You:  Of course!  If you would bow with me.  Friend, I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I have really been thinking about you and the direction God is trying to take you.  He wants so badly for you to listen and trust Him.  He’s knocking at the door.  Will you answer?  And now, Father, we come before you, asking that you would bless this food and the hands that prepared it.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sounds ridiculous, right?  I KNOW!  So why does the preacher do it?  It’s like he’s not quite done lecturing us, but he’s looked at the clock and it’s clearly time to move into the post-sermon prayer.  So, he tricks the staff by faking it.  I’m sure that when he’s confronted about it, he just argues that he’s eliminating distractions and getting us all prepared for the seriousness of prayer.  Well, I’ve got you all figured out, preacher man!  You don’t fool me!  You’re just trying to secretly extend your sermon!  And next time you pull one of these maneuvers, I’m popping my eyes right back open and staring at you until you actually begin speaking to God!  And I hope you see me glaring and it makes you stumble over your carefully-chosen words, you faker!  I’m exposing you for everything you are!

Seriously, if you feel the need to keep preaching, then keep preaching.  Don’t be weird.  It doesn’t make the atmosphere more holy or get us to focus more when you get us in prayer mode.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I simply focus on the fact that you just lied to us.  Now it’s YOUR sinful soul we need to discuss.

  1. You make me laugh! I don’t remember Jesus saying “ok, disciples, now close your eyes while I tell you this parable.” or “Bow our heads as I say my prayer to you.” Sometimes I do close my eyes, just because I want to think about HIM and not “Wow. I seriously need some new shoes.” or some such oddity. But I don’t always close and sometimes look around, and knowing the type folks I hang around, I’m likely to find someone (or more than one) looking right back. Closing eyes isn’t a requirement to prayer in my circles. 🙂

  2. macayla says:

    I haven’t closed my eyes for that nonsense in many moons. I hate it for all the reasons you wrote about, and I would love to find a church where the pastor doesn’t do it.

    Honestly, I am tempted to do this to my students just to be awkward. 😉

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