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Prayer Annoyances

So I was doing some reading and typing from Panera Bread on Wednesday. Some guys at the next table over were either meeting as a church staff or having accountability. All I know is that they were Christian guys whom I couldn't see myself hanging out with.

Anyway they got to the end of their discussion and started to pray. Unfortunately they prayed loud enough (in Panera Bread) that I could hear them.

While I love prayer and happen to partake of prayer quite often myself, this incident brought up some of that dry throw-up that comes when I hear some people praying.

So here goes... some of my prayer annoyances in no particular order.

1. When people boss God around.
Our hard of hearing friends demanded God to do a number of things. They didn't come off as requests for blessing on another person's life. They talked as if THEY were God and knew best for certain people. They TOLD GOD how to handle that person. They TOLD GOD what God should make this person think and do. They TOLD GOD the counseling that this person needed. It was crazy. I can't see myself telling God exactly what God has to do to solve a problem or a person.

2. When people talk to each other during prayer.
"God please let Tally know that I ....." I hate hearing this one. If someone does this when I'm in a circle praying it makes me want to reach across and smack them and say "NO... YOU tell me what you want to tell me." It's weird. It's like people use prayer time as a time to say things that they haven't said or won't say to you personally. I guess if you use God as a cover it's better. So if you know me, please don't ask God to re-affirm something to me that you yourself haven't done a good job sharing.

3. Long and drawn out prayer.
I'm all for spending time in prayer. I'm all for praying very specifically for various things. But not before dinner. The food gets cold. And not before the end of an all-day meeting. There is a season for everything. A time for everything. Some prayers can be as simple as "Thanks God." Not every prayer has to be a 'Never ending story"

4. Repeating everything we just talked about in prayer.
This one bugs me b/c it comes across to me that we didn't believe God was in the meeting. Or that we didnt' believe the people around us were in the meeting. Pastors can do this one but so can well-meaning laymen. When you're repeating a sermon in your prayer... probably a little much. I can even see asking God to bless a certain path that was just talked about... but you don't have to repeat it all as if you're giving God "minutes" of the day. He knows... He was there.

5. Stuffy prayers.
I get really sick of hearing prayers with puffed-up language. People talk to God like he's impressed with our use of words that aren't normal. Whenever you need to pull out an apologetics book to follow someone's prayer it drives me nuts. One of the biggest points to God is that He's within reach and the Holy Spirit lives within us. He's not operating on some intellectual snobbery to where your prayers have to be prayed in an ancient language. He understands English just fine. Additionally my bible says that he knows our prayers even before we pray them.... so save the homiletics degree for something else. Let prayer be prayer.

6. Flowery prayers.
This is almost the opposite of Stuffy prayer. This is when someone paints a picture of dancing through a bed of roses with how they talk to God. Puhh-lease. God's not fooled like the people in the prayer meeting. Again I'd say it's a good idea to pray the way you talk and live. He meets you where you are. Don't try to impress others around you by how smoothly your words roll off of your tongue or how impressive you sound.

Thanks for listening. You were as effective and less costly than a shrink.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Friday, September 28, 2007


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