Growing up, I lived off a steady TV diet of X-Files and Unsolved Mysteries. I just knew there was always some alien conspiracy theory going on with the Bermuda Triangle. Who knew the History Channel, of all places, would prove me right?
But being raised in a small country church provided the greatest mystery of all – the unspoken prayer request. Please tell me, you know what I’m talking about.
During Wednesday night prayer meeting (you had those, too, right?), the pastor would ask if anyone had any prayer requests. There were always upcoming surgeries, somebody needed a job, a neighbor’s grandmother died and a cousin’s kid was going off to college. Every week.
That wasn’t all though. Somebody always said, “I’ve got an unspoken prayer request, Preacher.” As a kid, this fascinated me. How is it unspoken, when you just “spoke” it? Obviously, you have the ability to speak. Then I discovered it was unspoken, because they didn’t want to share the details out in public. Well, that just made it 100 times more interesting.
It wasn’t until later on that I discovered what was really happening with these things. In case you haven’t solved the mystery yet, here are the five different types of unspoken prayer requests.
Sometimes, people just had something for which they had no business requesting prayer … but they want it prayed for anyway. It might be for the high school football team to win their game on Friday night or Dale Earnhardt Jr to win the race on Sunday.
They thought if they could just get an unspoken request in, that prayer magic might carry over and lead the number 8 to victory lane at Daytona.
No actual request
What happens when everyone has a prayer request and you don’t have anything. All your aunts are healthy. No one lost their job this week. None of your cousins are going to college. You start to feel left out of the prayer club, so you raise that hand and drop an unspoken request.
I mean, it would be too strange to raise your hand and simply thank God that everyone was healthy. No, you need a sickness to pray over.
This may not be an every week or every church thing, but occasionally somebody will bring out some ridiculous prayer request. Either it is some long, extended soap opera style story of love, betrayal and an aunt that’s having surgery or somebody has an insane conversion story about being a former drug runner to Mexico and know their delivering Bibles instead of cocaine.
Then they stop and your hand is still raised. You can’t top that. All you wanted was prayer for your sore throat. Make it look cooler than it is by going with the unspoken.
You just found out some crazy information on the deacon’s wife’s sister’s brother-in-law’s teacher’s son. I mean this rivals the ridiculous prayer request. You would feel bad sharing it as a “prayer request,” but you can make sure everyone knows you know something with an unspoken.
These are given away when the person starts talking about the request, but won’t share it. “This really needs prayer. It is a wild situation, but I just want to leave it unspoken.” At least until someone asks you about it after the service.
This was where my X-Files, Unsolved Mysteries mind always went. Someone says they have an unspoken prayer request, I’m assuming they are working up the courage to confess to being a serial killer possessed by aliens from the bermuda triangle.
You just have to assume that they didn’t something crazy, illegal and immoral involving a road trip to Vegas with Dennis Rodman, Miley Cyrus, Kim Jong-un and one of the Kardashian. That’s the only logical explanation, right?
Did you have unspoken prayer requests at your church? Do you still have them? What is the best story you made up in your head as the reason for the request?