Last night was the night. We had singing instead of our normal class time, so the feel was slightly more informal than usual. When I went up to lead the closing prayer, I said that I didn't mean to disturb anyone, but instead of me leading the closing prayer, I was going to let the Apostle Paul lead it. I then grabbed the microphone and went down on one knee (I've never seen anyone kneel in prayer at this church before (but then, I've only been there two years)), and with one hand holding a New King James Version Bible and the other hand holding the microphone (which I couldn't get loose from the stand, so I just took the whole stand down with me) I prayed (changing the personal pronouns as needed):
I kneel before you, Oh Father, from whom your whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of your glorious riches you may strengthen us with power through your Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that we, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all your fullness.So I read a prayer instead of coming up with my own; I kneeled; and I did not use the formulaic "In Jesus' name, Amen".
Now to you who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to your power that is at work within us, to you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
I really expected that it might disturb some folks, but no one said anything, except for a friend who said, "No one could have said it better" (referring to Paul, not me, of course).
Of course, it may be that I'll hear some comments later. Or it may be that I won't ever be asked to lead prayer again. Or perhaps everyone had already closed their eyes by the time I knelt, and never focused back on me until after I was back up, so that there would only be two oddities to them rather than three.
It was definitely difficult to do, but as soon as I read that passage weeks ago, I felt compelled to do this. I'm thankful that God gave me the opportunity and the guts to carry through.