Saturday, May 22, 2010

#155-The Fallback Prayer

First, sorry for the lack of posts this week. Last week of finals. But I swear it's done for a while (at least until I go to St. Louis next month). 

Ah, the joys of prayer in church. It is the one time when we gather together as a body of believers to get some extra gathered spiritual power within ourselves to get things done. While taken out of context, we know the classic line "when two or three are gathered in my name...."

And during church, the prayers can be many addressing different topics from missionaries, to more common prayer requests.

However, these prayers are usually led by ministers of the church be it elders or pastors. And elders and pastors' ability to wax eloquent within the prayers and expound on them to great lengths can occasionally cause a slight mental crisis.

In short: What in the world do we do when the prayers are still going on via minister on platform, but we have accomplished what we deem sufficient to to make our petitions properly known to God?

Another question: What in the world do we do when we accidentally zone out during service and come to and when we come to we find the church in mass prayer, but yet we have no idea what to pray for?

The answer to both these questions is that we know we can't stop praying. If we stop praying, it looks really really bad. It looks like you just don't care to the rest of the congregation. When the rest are leaping through spiritual hurdles to accomplish a task that requires the moving of a mountain into the sea, how dare we blankly stare at such a critical time as this. 

So what do we do?

Well we gotta keep praying!

But what do we pray?

"The Fall back prayer."

Now there is no systematic fall back prayer for everyone. In fact, each fall back prayer is probably unique to yourself because no one will ever teach it to you, nor will it ever be taught to you. Rather, the fall back prayer is born in each one of us as we find ourselves needing to fill in these gaps of extended prayer that happen from time to time in which we find ourselves unable to match the length and depth of the prayer of a minister from the pulpit. 

So we thus develop a fall back prayer. And in short, it's practical value is that it makes it appear you are praying by onlookers in church. Not to mention it probably has some spiritual utility as well as some prayer is better than no prayer.

And this fall back prayer is simple those one or two or three catch phrases you say during these times of exhaustive prayers. You may not even notice you are saying them. As it is quite possible to find your mental capacities on check out mode during prayer but yet your subconscious knows that "check out mode" is not acceptable during church time. So it subconsciously brings to the forefront of your consciousness the few catch phrases you have going in your "fall back prayer" repertoire.

Fore some the fall back prayer is as short as repeatedly saying "Jesus" or "Glory!" or "Yes, Lord" over and over again (for is not the power of the request determined by it being in His name?) For others it may be simple fall back words of praise "Jehovah Jirah" or "Jesus you are King" or  "Thank you God."

Note that since so many of my words are being twisted lately, I am not saying such words are of no significance, I am just saying that these powerful statements become the crux of our fall back prayers. 

I know of one friend who has opted to just start straight quoting some of his favorite secular songs. And thus he does so quietly, but to the onlooker it looks like he is in sincere prayer. (I do not endorse this method). 

My personal strategy is more built around someone who is in sincere prayer and extend an arm in their direction and thus focus my energies on that particular person (I assure you my prayers are sincere, but I would be misleading you if I did not acknowledge the dual-benefit of this prayer as a secondary motive: It also looks like I am busy praying)...This method is of course not dissimilar from a post by Chantell.


  1. lol. this is allll badd and sooooo true lol. i'm in good company i see lol. my favorite is what my grandmother does, she takes her seat and starts rocking back and forth, but i know good and well she's run out of fuel lol.

  2. Louis, I have seen the "rockers" too and always just assumed they were onto something super-spiritual...

    Now I won't be so certain

  3. I have always suspected that some people who are in this situation take to "groanings that cannot be uttered."

  4. I would like to go completely off topic and discuss the photograph. Really Joel?!?! Is this the first picture you have edited for SAL? I am slightly tempted to review all past photos to see what had to be done to them.

  5. The photo editing by our meek and humble leader is more then exceptional and displays visually the tone of the writing.

  6. I wasn't commenting on the editing abilities but rather the fact that the photo was edited in itself. I just find it humorous, that's all, sorry for any offense.

  7. hahahha offense taken at alll

    I am glad you noticed...

    thought it would be quite humorous to edit as you see....But I think this is the first photo I have edited in such a way for such a reason...

  8. Chuckles no offense here either, I didn't realize the tone of my comment. It def comes off as offended and it seems I have a cultish respect for the author of this post.

  9. As do we all John. As long as we stay away from deserts and kool-aid I have yet to see a problem with anything.(sarcasm implied)

  10. Having been "raised in church" the fallback prayer is of ultimate importance. If for nothing else than to keep the previously discussed altar hierarchy at bay. Nothing screams "PRAY FOR ME" like someone looking around when everyone else is in fervent prayer. :) So funny. I love this blog.