By Bill Tenny-Brittian
In Prayer of People Who Can’t Sit Still, I tell the story of what happens when the pastor says, “Let us bow our heads and close our eyes for prayer.” I’m with ’em for about twenty seconds and then my mind and my body rebell. Turns out, I’m not the only one who’s tuning out of the “pastoral prayer.” Indeed, it’s a common comment I hear from people “in the pew.” To help keep the focus on prayer consider using a kinesthetic-friendly pastoral prayer aid such as one of these:
- If you use a projector during your service, run an automated slide show of the church’s prayer needs for those of us who can’t keep our eyes closed anyway.
- Teach prayer journaling and encourage it.
- Provide a blank space in your worship bulletin/program for prayer journaling (and mark it as such).
- Suggest a specific Psalm for meditating on during the prayer.
By acknowledging the reality that some of us really can’t sit still during prayer, you help alleviate the guilt and shame some of your parishioners feel during prayer when they lose their focus.