“Prayer Sandwiches” – A United Church of Christ StillSpeaking Daily Devotional by The Rev. Kaji Douŝa

June 22nd,2024 Categories: Latest News

“In vain do they worship me, teaching human commandments as [authoritative] teaching.” – Matthew 15:9 (as translated by Gafney, Wilda C. A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church)

I once served a church with a leader who made a fascinating move to pull prayers out of the church’s business meetings. Why? Because the meetings would always start and end with a prayer – sandwich prayers, as he called them – but everything in the middle of that would not reflect the words of those prayers. In other words, the business was so distinct from the prayer that it was actually disingenuous to offer it. So, instead of sandwich prayers, church business was conducted at a special time that began and ended in worship. With hymns, songs and spiritual songs. If you couldn’t make it to worship, you couldn’t participate in the meeting.

How did he pull this off?

Well, the church had taken time to articulate a vision that supported this: that they grow in faith, together. It meant that in every interaction, they were making a commitment to growing in faith. It was their one major value that shaped everything. Conducting business – making decisions about how the church operates, who it serves, how it gets and allocates its resources – only could happen, they came to understand, in the context of the worship of God. Not in a sandwich gesture. But with their whole hearts, souls and minds.

And that requires a steep discipline.

When we don’t do this, prayer takes the shape of obligation rather than change.

If only every community could have the clarity and commitment to such Jesus-aligned values.

What values shape your life and its circles therein?


Guide me, Great One. May my values align with yours. Amen.


The “StillSpeaking Daily Devotional” series is produced by The United Church of Christ.