Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

When Your Prayer Doesn’t Come Out Quite Right

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.

  • Public Prayers, Professions of Faith, and Good Ol’ Fashioned Evangelism — Goodword Editing

  • Mark Goodyear

    Thanks for the link, Mark! Back at you.

  • L.L. Barkat

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

  • Bernie

    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.

  • Quick Takes – 3/8/2008 at Ray Fowler .org

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