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Do you like lists? I don't. But I'm about to give you one anyway. It's my list of the five people you meet in prayer groups. I'm betting if you've been hanging around a church for much time you'll recognize a few of these types.
The Preacher: We all know this one. He's the one who can't open his mouth to pray without letting a three-point sermon come out. Thank you, Lord, that your word says [insert point A]. We praise you, Almighty Father, because you have said that [insert point B]... I think you get the idea. Pastors are notorious for using this subtle little technique. In fact, sometimes I wonder why people bother paying attention to sermons at all. Why not just wait for the ending prayer for the cliff's notes version?
The Plagarist: Less annoying than the Preacher (on account of the shorter, non-bulleted prayer), the Plagarist is adpet at "agreeing" (in the Biblical sense) with everything that's already been prayed. The Plagarist often waits until just about all the prayer requests have been prayed over, and then he says something short and profoud like, "I just want to agree with everything that's already been said here." For the sake of propriety, the Plagarist usually adds a sentence or two of his own, but for the most part he just gets to listen to other people come up with their prayers and then just second what they said.
The Gossip: There's no better way than to keep up with local gossip than to attend your church's prayer meeting. Usually, there are sereral pray-ers who fall under the Gossip category who are more than happy to share the latest and juciest news with everybody in the form of a prayer. Sometimes it takes a little practice to interepret these prayers, however. For example, Please help Trish's daughter come back to you is code for "Did you know that Trish's daughter is sleeping around?" In the same way, Please bless Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson's marriage during this time is code for, "The Donaldsons are getting a divorce."
The Good Old Wishy-Washy Prayer Partner: Here's the man who just can't make up his mind and decide what he wants to pray for. So he offers up a lot of if it's your will and if you want's and ends up not asking for anything at all.
The Bard: This King James enthusiast doesn't realize that Shakespearian English is four centuries out of date. His prayers are complicated with so many Thee's and Thou's you need footnotes just to get through it all.
Thankfully, the Bible doesn't give us one right way to pray. And some of the people who made it into the list aren't really doing it "wrong." You want to praise God in sonnet form? Go right ahead. I guess I'm just glad that God knows what's going on in our hearts and in our spirits, no matter how the words come out.
Random Fact: Right now I am taking care of a total of seven children, but I still haven't gotten my Super Woman suit in the mail.