Prayer Ward

By Kristen Gatenby

Summary

A light-hearted look at some of the problems we can have when praying. It was originally developed for a women's conference on the topic of prayer. In this drama, a curious visitor is given a tour of an imaginary psychiatric unit for various disorders and problems. We meet the visitor and their psychiatrist guide as they enter the Proseuketic (pronounced Pros-yoo-ketic) ward, a place where people suffering various prayer-related problems are treated.

Scripture References

Matthew 6:5-15, Luke 11

Characters

Gossip - Spreads the news in her prayers
Lordumreally -Has a bad case of the "Lord-um-reallys"
Shy - Too scared to pray
ADD - Can't keep her attention long enough to pray
Buddypal Mate - A little too buddy-buddy with God
Therapist - Typical psychiatrist/clinician
Visitor

Script

(A clinic. Four chairs are distributed across the stage in various positions. In them (right to left) sit Gossip, Lordumreally, Shy, Buddypal Mate and ADD. Gossip sits primly, the stereotypical image of a gossipy woman. Lordumreally, Buddypal Mate and ADD sit in various "prayer" poses, while Shy is curled up in semi-foetal position, looking nervously at the others. Therapist and Visitor enter talking.)

THERAPIST: Ah, now this is the Proseuketic Ward.

VISITOR: The proseu- what?

THERAPIST: Sorry. This is the place where we deal with the Chronic Prayer Disorders. Quite a few fascinating cases here. (Moves to stand next to Gossip) Our first case here is suffering from Defamatory Disorder. Quite a long history of gossiping in her prayers, unfortunately. She came to us when her bible study group almost lynched her.

GOSSIP: (looking up) Lord, please look after Beth. You know she must be devastated after Rick left her last night. We also ask that you heal Angela since her haemorrhoids came up again. Oh, and please show a certain person that she knows nothing about cooking sponge cakes. You know how Valerie can be pig-headed sometimes. But why should she inflict her cooking disasters on us?

VISITOR: She's got it quite bad, hasn't she?

THERAPIST: Yes. It's sad, really. Now this one (moving on to Lordumreally) is suffering from Compulsive Prayer Dysphasia. We call him "the Lord-um-really" man.

LORDUMREALLY: Lord, um, ..yeah... we really, um, Lord, just ... yeah ...um pray Lord, um Lord that really Lord um Lord you Lord really Lord ... yeah, um Lord, yeah really Lord um Lord, yeah, just, ... Lord, um...um, Lord, yeah.

VISITOR: Does he ever pray anything?

THERAPIST: Occasionally. We're working on slowing the yeah-really's down a bit, but it's tough work.

(Therapist walks over to Shy and gently touches her on the shoulder. Shy flinches as if trying to jump out of her skin, There is a brief conversation, then Therapist stands again.)

VISITOR: Who was that?

THERAPIST: That's our Proseuketophobia case. She's acutely afraid to pray in public. We had a horrible day when we accidentally put her in group therapy with the gossip. Heavily traumatized her. Set her therapy back by months. (Moves on to ADD) Ah, now this one is quite good. Prayer-related Attention Deficit Disorder.

ADD: Heavenly Father, I'd like to pray for my sister. Please, um, ... oh she's going shopping today. That reminds me, I have to head off for some milk. Oh, but the fridge needs cleaning out first. Nick said he'd look after that. Where's he gone?

THERAPIST: We've got her on a strict course of Aversion Therapy. Give her a mild electric shock every time she changes the subject. Not doing much good at the moment, though. (Points to Buddypal mate) Ah, this is our last patient. He has a rather difficult Exaggerated Familiarity Complex. Doesn't quite realise he's talking to the creator of the universe.

BUDDYPAL MATE: God! Maaaaaate! How's it going matey? Things cool in the clouds? Look, you know I borrowed that money from my brother without asking? Well, I heard a rumour that you might not be too happy about that. But I figured that since you and me are on such good terms, we could just let that one go, eh? Maaate! Would I do anything to hurt you? Trust me!

THERAPIST: This is possibly one of our toughest cases yet, I'm afraid. We have to put the fear of God into him. So that's our little proseuketic ward. (Pointing to the doors) Now through these doors here, we have where we keep the burnt out pastors. It's rather full at the moment, but there are a number of very interesting people in there...

(Therapist and Visitor exit.)

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Kristen Gatenby, All rights reserved This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. She may be contacted at: westichick@yahoo.com.au