Thursday, July 19, 2012


I received an email from a friend who recently attended the Temple. He told me that he saw the following words on a placard next to the Prayer Roll Box. 

"The practice of submitting long lists of names of people to be prayed for is inappropriate". 

I had to laugh.  Really? Who determined this? Is this revelation from the Lord telling us that we are praying for too many people?  How many names is considered inappropriate? Maybe the placard should be more specific and say,   "You are only allowed to write 15 names. If you write more, than that is deemed inappropriate."

Here is an excerpt from his email:

“As I read the little placard some questions immediately had to be answered.  What about that practice is inappropriate?  And who is the person who presumes to evaluate the act as not appropriate?  Would the slips of paper become too much to fit into the box?  Is that it?  Would the need for a bigger prayer roll box not speak well of the temple patrons??  Is it inappropriate to pray or intercede on behalf of multiple people if you felt so inclined? In this world of pain and suffering and affliction should we limit the prayer roll to only a few select?  Can God only handle a couple at a time?  Why not put a scripture as the placard?  One that invites the right Spirit?     

That was the discussion in my mind while waiting for the temple workers to get the session organized for such a large group.  It was an interesting topic for sure, I tried to give both sides fair treatment.  I'm still not sure what would be so very inappropriate about submitting a long list of names.  Would it not speak to the charity of the person who's heart is inclined towards their fellow man?  Or who was aware of a group of people who are in need? I guess we could sit and impose all sorts of motives upon the person participating in such a practice; but at the end of the day none of us will know their heart and whether it was inappropriate or pure.  What a shame to call inappropriate what in reality may have been pure.

Do not prophets and authors of scripture often pray and intercede on behalf of entire cities?  Do the heavens not morn over all Gods children?  I would never complain if my name was one in a long list submitted for prayer.  I think most people would be grateful someone thought to petition God on their behalf.  I took a moment just now to consider all those people who are not prayed for due to that placard.....             

Just a thought.  I guess it may look funny if the pray roll box became a huge prayer bin, with folks putting lists with everyone they know on them.  But at the same time I don't know that establishing it as inappropriate communicates the correct message either.

Speaking of inappropriate, I find being obligated to make a covenant with God seated, unable to to observe the physical gestures without invading the space of the patron beside me inappropriate.  There used to be a disclaimer that if patrons had trouble sitting and standing frequently during the session they were allowed to remain seated while those able to, would stand. However they changed it, the disclaimer apparently wasn't enough, so now I'm forced to remain seated which I find an inappropriate way to approach God to make a covenant.  I suppose what I find inappropriate and what others have deemed inappropriate are simply different.  What's more important, that we limit how long a list a person makes for the temple prayer roll?  Or that we alter the ordinances and require people to be in the most casual, sleepy of positions while they make covenants with God?  

While making a covenant with God, my view is you should be standing, or kneeling.  But then again, I sometimes submit long lists of people for the prayer role.”


Anonymous said...

Amen, brohter. Amen.

Anonymous said...

To the best of my recollection I think that same placard is on every temple prayer roll box that I've seen. Apparently temple attendee's were simply praying for too many people.

Or something like that.....

Anonymous said...

I've seen that placard in many temples, as long as I can remember. Maybe they want the prayer roll to be more "special" ... like asking for a blessing? You don't give blessings to your entire family/neighborhood/ward every single day. (Although some on my mission seemed to think this was more than appropriate. I coughed! Give me a blessing!) Maybe the Lord knows if we put "The entire population of Kenya" on the prayer roll, we're not as sincere...? Nothing is keeping the patrons from praying for whomever they want, all day long. The prayer rolls of the temple should be kept for those in the "seeking a special blessing" mode, in my opinion. The last time I put a name on the roll was for a friend's child who was getting tested for cancer. Of course, I want my whole family/neighborhood/ward to be blessed... but I don't call the temples every day for that.


Yes, names written down on the prayer roll should be heartfelt and sincere. I can't imagine people writting down names without some sort of reason.

The main reason for posting about this, is that I think we have more important things to worry about then policing the number of names we write down on our prayer rolls.

Suggestion: Maybe we could have an "express lane" box for those with 10 names or less and another one for those who have more. :)

Anonymous said...

I am way more concerned about sitting while making the most sacred covenant I can make, than i am about how many names someone inserts into the hopper. Moses was told to take off his shoes because his was on hallowed ground as he approached God - we sit "in the most casual, sleepy" and relaxed position as we make our most holy covenants. INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR IN THE TEMPLE, you bet it is. I often wonder if a few of us stood up during the session, at the appropriate times - if others would then join us. My guess is - i bet they would - cause it just doesn't feel right sitting making eternal covenants.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon

I agree with you in many ways. It's intended to be special, or elevated in importance in some way. However I also don't know that more names equals less special or less sincere. Even if members got carried away with it.... I think even that is still the least of the problems facing our day.

During the actual prayer at the temple where the persons on the pray roll are prayed for, the prayer will usually include a request to bless "the missionaries", "those serving in the military" or "the youth". I enjoy that. Yet were we to submit a list of names from among those very groups, for that same prayer, it would be called inappropriate. To me that just begs some consideration, even if you totally disagree with the above post.

Brett said...

What if I drop a small flash card in there with a billion names?

Toni said...

LOL Brett, I love it. And it wouldn't take any space at all.

When they first put those signs in temples, I thought it was because of me; I was putting families in, naming each person. If I recall, the sign also said not to put in the names of famous people, either.

In any case, I got around it by writing so and so and family. I do think it was to reduce the bulk in the packets that hold the names.

But my experience has been that a person utilizing mighty prayer at home is far more powerful than having a person's name on a prayer roll - even in multiple temples. And that several people united in mighty prayer have ten times the power. My opinion is that most people in sessions don't bother to try to add their faith to the list of people being prayed for. I didn't until it dawned on me that that was what I was supposed to do,even if I wasn't in the prayer circle.

Anonymous said...

Toni -- AMEN!!!!!