Prayer for Pastors Who Preach in Their Prayers
Our Father in heaven, whose special son taught us to make our prayers short and needy, lead me not into the temptation of using the time for prayer as time for another sermon. Keep me from the desire to be eloquent. Impel my spirit by the Spirit to go directly to the matter and say it plainly. Inspire me to be down-to-earth without being jarringly colloquial. Sharpen my wits to employ strong verbs at the beginning of each petition. Stir up in me an aversion to those constructions which are sermonic, like "let us..." or "help us to...". Most of all, encourage me to be swift in public prayer, lest I tire your ears and hasten my listeners' naps. I have it on good authority that you know already what I am going to say before I say it. Then, focus my mind and heart on what you have told us you really look for in our prayers, open and contrite hearts, open to your leading and aware of our mortality. And my prayers will be prayers indeed and not just a sermon in disguise; through him who always knew the difference, our Lord and teacher in the ways of heaven and earth, Jesus Christ. Amen.