The 30 Minute Prayer

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Have you ever been in Bible study when it’s wrapping up and you have already been there for an hour and half and someone says, “I’ll say the closing prayer”?  How can you respond to that?  You can’t say NO even when you know that the woman who asks is a thirty-minute pray-er!
We all know what this means.  The prayer is usually the same rehearsed and memorized prayer from times past.  Now I know what you’re thinking, “That’s not right to make fun of someone who is praying.”  Well, let me tell you – the pray-er is only trying to promote herself, not praise God.
Anyway, she stands up and usually wants everyone in the group to stand up and hold hands in a circle.  Then she starts praying.  She begins with the weather of the day and then goes into everything she can think of, from A to Z, from asparagus to zealots, even dogs and cats and butterflies! Yes, even butterflies.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong in praying for butterflies.  Butterflies are nice.
By the time she is half way through her prayer, and we are only on the “L” names on her list, my legs are going numb and I’m thinking, “When she takes a breath, I’ll interrupt her, that’s what I’ll do.”
Well, for some reason this lady doesn’t ever seem to take a breath.  She just goes on and on and I have lost focus after the first five minutes.  Then I start looking around the circle and I see that not everyone has their heads bowed.  Sure enough, others are looking around and they are rolling their eyes at me.  Oh no, what should I do?  I am the pastor’s wife and I have to cut off a prayer??  That doesn’t seem right!! 
But I know it’s just a show and the pray-er is using the words from the 1,001 Churchy Words book!  Okay.  I have to stop this.  So I decide I will butt in when she gets to the “P” names on the prayer list.  Sure enough, when she gets to the “Ps,” what do I say?  “I have to go pee.”  Really??  So I end it real fast with that and an Amen.  And I see all the women in the group look at me in a very thankful way!
Remember next time someone asks you to pray, you can pray a short prayer that’s just as effective as a long, flowery prayer.  This reminds me of the Pharisees who prayed so everyone could hear and be impressed with their eloquent words.  The only person we are to impress is Jesus, and we can do that by being honest and real when we pray.  Don’t try to think of the perfect churchy words or what anyone else is thinking when you pray.  Just talk to Jesus.  It’s as easy as that.  Many people do things to “impress” others with their churchy words or their long prayers and you know what, they are NOT impressing God.  Because He knows our motives and our hearts.  Proverbs 16:2 says, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.”

 Proverbs 16:2

It makes me think of the verse in Matthew 6:5, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on the street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.  I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.”

About Joyce Thrasher
Joyce Thrasher
Wherever she meets people, Joyce combines her experience as an Army wife, pastor’s wife and mother with her outgoing personality and uniquely funny laugh in way that immediately helps people from all walks of life feel welcome and included.  Now Joyce has taken those attributes to the Internet to minister to women via her blog on her website,, and also on Christian Post and as a speaker at Christian women’s events.  Writing and speaking from her experiences with refreshing honesty and self-disclosure, Joyce uses the humor, joy, sorrow and challenges of everyday life to impart serious spiritual truth.  She is now working on her first book about her “crazy” life as a pastor’s wife; and continues to lead by example as an active volunteer in her church, especially in her church’s ministry to women.