Those formula prayers. I want to scream
I hated having to pray in front of the congregation and was never any good at it.
What really got my back up were those prayers that went on and on. You'd think that the brother was giving a public talk!
It was phenomenal how fast and efficiently the meeting could be wrapped up if there was an important football game coming on that day! Otherwise the self-important hypocrites would drone on for upwards of fifteen minutes. (And they were ALL self-important hypocrites.)
Don't forget the magical closing - "...we ask this through Jesus' name....amen."
If you don't end the prayer properly, the magic spell won't work. All that work for nothing...that prayer won't travel...it needs that Jesus name tacked on the end to get past all the demons trying to stop it from getting to heaven.
And never never say the Lord's Prayer - Satan's churches use that one because they can't say a real prayer like the JWs can. Saying the Lord's Prayer was right up there as far as sins go - almost as bad as celebrating the birth of baby Jesus.
Some prayers were so long I did not say amen, I said the end.
The prayers where the elder decided to make some pointed comments were the worst - eg thank you for reminding us of the need to have a meaningful share in the ministry / attend all our meetings / participate in the meeting etc etc. And I agree with an earlier poster that while it was almost obligatory to thank Jehovah for the FADS / GB , rarely , if ever , was Jesus mentioned ( apart from " in his name" at the end. )
Prayers tended to be very much formulaic and you knew what each elder or ms would be saying. In fact - it was so rare for anyone to make any kind of meaningful statement that most in the congregation just basically tune out & wait for Amen at the end. I remember being a bit peeved at a comment some brother made in his prayer & mentioning it to the PO & he hadn't noticed - he admitted that he hardly ever listened to prayers.
Some rambled on , some were extremely brief - some very nervous. One of our elders always asked God to care for those lying on "their beds of sickness" ( which in our family always raised a smile at the visual thought of someone lying in a pool of vomit - my son used to suppress a laugh just waiting for the inevitable reference). Another always thanked Jehovah for ( in his words ) "the faithful & very discreet slave" which always grated in my later years. Some tried to cover all the bases , praying that Jehovah would care for the pioneers , elderly , sick , appointed men & their faithful wives , young ones "facing all the pressures of the world" , Branch workers etc etc etc.
I agree with Blondie that usually prayers were assigned just a couple of minutes before. I was the school overseer for a few years & just used to see who wasn't on the meeting & ask them before I went on to the platform. Ditto if I was the last speaker on the service meeting or I would just do it myself. The Sunday meeting was different - the chairman said the opening prayer & it was the tradition in most congregations for the public speaker to give the final prayer.
I was on private restrictions for a year. That meant no praying. However, the selection of who was to open and close the meetings with a prayer was completely arbitrary and depended on the whim of either the Ministry school fella or the WT conductor. To save embarrassment, my pal, who knew all about my peccadilloes, would jump in and offer up the prayer on my behalf whenever I was asked. This went on for a year and, I kid you not, no-one ever noticed that when Bro Snuggs was asked to pray, Bro Fraser's voice was the one that came forth.
Formula prayers. Do they work any better than the unformulated ones? I haven't one answered in the past 67 years that I know of.
A couple months back I had JW family visit us. Of course they know that I am inactive and asked if I minded them praying before the meal and I didn't object. Still when my brother thanked God for the food on the table I had to bite my tongue not to tell him that I was the provider of the said food and that if God had anything to do with us being well fed God must also be held accountable for those who are starving. How would God decide who is deserving or not of this basic necessity of life? Iniquity in the world's distribution of wealth is much easier to explain than the partiality of a supposedly loving and just God.
Part of the problem is like with everything else the society aims to control prayers as much as anything else. They tell you what should be included and in what order so by the tie you have gone through the must haves all spontaneity is lost.
I used to hate praying because I was using their words not mine. I used to hate my mother's prayers at the end of the family study because they went on forever. Not only had the study overrun by at least 30 minutes but the prayer was used to catalogue our failings..
And don't get me started on the prayers before mealtimes ......!