It’s the beginning or end of a sermon. The lights are low, the crowd is still. The preacher tells everyone to bow their heads and pray with him. Silence falls on the room. And then…
The preacher starts addressing the crowd in a hushed tone that sounds like a prayer with the notable exception that it is wholly directed at the audience, not God.
You’ve been there right? Surely I’m not the only one. When the preacher or other dually appointed representative takes what is supposed to be a time where we corporately communicate with the Living God as a time to, instead, offer either a miniature sermon or (slightly better) a chance to summarize the main points from their sermon you just sat through.
Perhaps I am growing more ornery as I age (both spiritually and physically) but I’ve decided that if the preacher wishes to address me I will keep my head erect and eyes open until they decide to get around to their actual prayer to God.
As for preachers and anyone else who is guilty of this I wish to implore you; Please refrain from offering horizontal prayers. Let’s cut down on the confusion (and potentially awkward moments if someone like me is in your midst) and keep our prayers vertical.