All right. The Rev. Ulysses Giblet has been e-mailing me every week for the past three months asking when I’m was going to let him ‘…share his great gift with the world’ again, so for the sake of peace and quiet here he is. Enjoy, or whatever.
James has been begging me to write another guest post, so here it is. Today I will be writing about prayer and the role it has to play in public worship.
There are few aspects of public worship as versatile as prayer. Prayer can be used to fill an awkward silence, to give the musicians time to get back into position, to communicate important news to the congregation (“Lord, we pray for the REALLY IMPORTANT SERVICE that we’re having next Thursday, at 7pm, parking is limited so don’t be late.”) and much more! What else can you use to get the whole congregation to close their eyes for a moment while you deal with an embarrassing itch? Being skilled in the art of prayer is crucial for anyone who is involved in leading a church service. Luckily for you, I’m here to offer some gold-plated advice and get you up to speed.
Here are my top tips for public prayer:
DO use as many long words as possible. The fewer people that understand your prayer, the more impressed God is.
DON’T forget to throw in a few ‘Words From The Lord’ every now and then. It’s very easy to do, and keeps the rubes – I mean, congregation – on their toes. Something like “What’s that, Lord? Someone here is struggling with trusting God? We pray for that brother and/or sister.” You can keep it vague, and you’re bound to be 100% accurate, or you can be as specific and detailed as you like – who’s going to know if you’re wrong?
DO use a special voice. Do you really think God is impressed with whatever regional dialect you normally communicate in? Do you think God listens to, or even understands, what you’re saying in your Irish brogue, Texan drawl, or – heaven forbid – Scouse whine? No. Remember, God loves you best when you sound like you’re a 1960s BBC newsreader.
DON’T make your prayers too short. The longer you pray, the better your prayer and – consequently – the better Christian you are. Also, the more time it gives you to deal with that awkward itch. Some people may tell you that Jesus said something about the length of your prayers not mattering, but it’s clear to even the most simple-minded scholar that those verses have been taken out of context, just like all those other verses that people use to disagree with me.
DO use prayer time to let the congregation know about your new book releases and other revenue streams. “Lord, I just want to take this moment to thank you for the release of my new book – Preach and Pray the Giblet Way – which is available at the back of the church at the very reasonable price of £9.99. Signed copies extra.” Again, some naive people might say that prayer should really be about God, but let’s face it, it’s not as if He needs the money.
If you remember these five simple tips you’ll be well on your way to earning your Public Prayer Badge and soaking up some of the respect and adoration that you’re due. You’re welcome.