Summary: How do we pray? Opening skit, showing that it is better to have no words in your heart than it is to have no heart in your words. Are we hot, cold, or lukewarm?
(THIS SERMON OPENS WITH THE FOLLOWING SKIT)
Billie is standing at the pulpit, with her head bowed as she is praying. (This script is in front of her.)
The pastor is in the back of the sanctuary, with a microphone. (He is the voice of God.)
Billie: Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Billie: (looking around – somewhat startled) Who are you?
Pastor: I am God. You called me.
Billie: I didn’t call you – I’m praying. Now, go on and let me pray. Our Father who art in heaven -
Pastor: There -- you did it again!
Billie: Did what?
Pastor: You called me! You said, "Our Father who art in Heaven". Well, here I am. What’s on your mind?
Billie: I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just saying my prayers. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good - like I am doing my duty.
Pastor: OK. Go ahead and pray then.
Billie: "Hallowed be Thy name" . .
Pastor: What do you mean when you say “hallowed”?
Billie: It means, it means.…..I don’t know what it means. It’s just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?
Pastor: It means honored, holy, sacred, and wonderful.
Billie: Okay, I just never thought about it before. It was always something I just said in the prayer.. Now, let me finish praying. "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."
Pastor: Do you really mean that?
Billie: I guess so.
Pastor: What are you doing about it?
Billie: Doing? What do You mean ‘doing about it?’ I can’t do anything about it. It would just be nice if You would take control down here and clean this mess up.
Pastor: Speaking of Me being in control - do I have control of you?
Billie: I go to church.
Pastor: That isn’t what I asked you. What about your temper? And then there’s the way you spend your money – it’s all on yourself.
Billie: Now hold on a minute! Stop picking on me! I’m just as good as the rest of those people at church!
Pastor: Excuse Me? I thought you were praying for My will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with - - well, with you - for example.
Billie: Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups - now that You mention it.
Pastor: I could name a lot of them, but we will start with those.
Billie: I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to - you know, be better.
Pastor: Good. Now we’re getting somewhere. We’ll work together -- You and Me. I’m proud of you.
Billie: Look, Lord, if You don’t mind, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. "Give us this day, our daily bread."
Pastor: You need to stop eating so much bread, too.
Billie: Hey, wait a minute! What is this? Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden You break in and start picking on me!
Pastor: Praying can be a dangerous thing if you aren’t careful. You just might get what you ask for. Remember, you called Me -- and here I am. It’s too late to stop now. Keep praying. ( . . . pause . . . ) Well, go on.
Billie: (trying to say it fast to avoid another interruption) "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."
Pastor: What about Ann?
Billie: See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Lord, she’s told lies about me, and she never did pay back the money she owes me.
Pastor: But -- your prayer -- What about your prayer?
Billie: I don’t know. All I know is I am still very mad at her!
Pastor: It’s quite a load carrying all that hate around, isn’t it?
Billie: Yes, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even with her!
Pastor: No, you won’t. Actually, you’ll feel worse. You know how unhappy you are? Well, I can change that.
Pastor: Forgive Ann. And then, I’ll forgive you; Then the hate and the sin, will be Ann’s problem -- not yours.
Billie: I know you’re right, Lord. And no matter how I act or think, I still want to be right with you. But it sure is hard sometimes. All right, I forgive her.
Pastor: There you go! How do you feel now?
Billie: Actually, not bad. In fact, I feel pretty good! You know, I don’t think I’m as uptight as I was a little while ago.
Pastor: I am proud of you, but you’re not through with your prayer - go on.