Can We Trust the Gospels?

Recent Posts

Past Posts Archived by Date

Search this site


Search this site


« Strange Book Bedfellows, Part 4 | Home | Planning and Goals: Is There Room for the Holy Spirit? An Introduction »

When Your Prayer Doesn’t Come Out Quite Right

By Mark D. Roberts | Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I recently received the following blog comment from Mark Goodyear of

Interesting series, Mark. Funny side story. My brother in law was the chaplain in his high school in the early 1990s. He was elected after a farcical Ferris Bueller style campaign.

At the first football game, he wanted to avoid the Jesus problem. And the God problem in general. And he was snarky. So he prayed, “O Righteous Being…” but the PA system garbled the last word and everyone heard “O Righteous Beast…”

I think that was the end of his chaplaincy.

I’m reminded of times when people’s well-intentioned prayers didn’t come out quite right.

first presbyterian church of hollywoodThis commonly happened when I was on the staff of Hollywood Presbyterian Church. Lloyd Ogilvie, who later became chaplain of the U.S. Senate, was our senior pastor. About once every few months somebody in a staff or elders meeting would open in prayer by saying, unintentionally, “Dear Lloyd . . . .” (Photo: The First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood)

Then there was the time when one of our associate pastors messed up a pastoral prayer in worship. He said, “O God, we lift you up to our needs.”

But my all time favorite is quite a bit like Mark Goodyear’s story. A friend of mine led in prayer each week for our college group. He would usually open by saying, simply, “Dear Father.” Sometimes he would begin by addressing God as “Master.” Yet one week he seemed to be thinking two things at once. Beginning with “Dear Father,” he switched midstream to “Master.” But what he said, plainly and clearly, was “Dear Fat Master.” No kidding! Of course the whole group began to laugh. But this poor young man kept on praying to his “Fat Master” as if nothing had happened.

Note to self: If you ever do anything like this, stop. Laugh at yourself. And then try to get back to prayer. God probably is having a good laugh too.

Topics: Prayer |

5 Responses to “When Your Prayer Doesn’t Come Out Quite Right”

  1. Public Prayers, Professions of Faith, and Good Ol’ Fashioned Evangelism — Goodword Editing Says:
    March 5th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    […] buddy Mark D. Roberts linked to me today. What a guy! He’s just finished a series on praying in public venues. You […]

  2. Mark Goodyear Says:
    March 5th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Thanks for the link, Mark! Back at you.

  3. L.L. Barkat Says:
    March 5th, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Oh, that’s wonderfully amusing. Now, in some cultures it would surely be a compliment anyhow to address someone as Fat Master!

  4. Bernie Says:
    March 5th, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Mark, this is a great post. I recall the days I spent at Hollywood Pres. I helped a friend of mind install some sound equipment - late at night in the dark, except for the sound booth and amp areas lite. This was back in the late 70’s. One night I needed to walk from the sound booth / amp area - to the platform….scary walk. I came to the platform and from a doorway to the rear of the platform I heard some men …they were praying and one sounded like God! Later, he appeared and said: GOOD EVENING YOUNG MAN! And we chatted for a bit, his name was Lloyd Ogilvie and I simply said: I heard your prayers and they encouraged my heart. We spoke about ministry and I shared that Jack Hayford was our school President at the time. He spoke of his love for Jack and the power of praying with other leaders for Los Angeles. Jack and Lloyd were instrumental in establishing, Love L.A. for pastors to gather and lift up the city to the Lord. I appreciatte your writings and enjoy your heart. Grace and Peace and Hollywood be His name.

  5. Quick Takes - 3/8/2008 at Ray Fowler .org Says:
    March 8th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    […] Mark D. Roberts shares some public prayer “bloopers” in his post: When Your Prayer Doesn’t Come Out Quite Right. […]


Thanks for your willingness to make a comment. Note: I do not moderate comments before they are posted, though they are automatically screened for profanities, spam, etc., and sometimes the screening program holds comments for moderation even though they're not offensive. I encourage open dialogue and serious disagreement, and am always willing to learn from my mistakes. I will not delete comments unless they are extraordinarily rude or irrelevant to the topic at hand. You do need to login in order to make a comment, because this cuts down on spam. You are free to use a nickname if you wish. Finally, I will eventually read all comments, but I don't have the time to respond to them on a consistent basis because I've got a few other demands on my time, like my "day job," my family, sleep, etc.

You must be logged in to post a comment.