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.”