Pastor Troy’s Column

March 08, 2023

"For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve.” James 5:16.

I once had a guy who worked for me who we all called, “Dude.” His name was “Dude” because every sentence he used started and ended with “Dude.”

“Dude, did you know that you can get extra cheese on your pizza? Dude.” he might say in a fit of wisdom.

Sometimes he didn’t have to say any other words at all.

If a cool car drove by, he’d say, “Duuudddee.”

If he was upset at something it might be a very fast, “Dude.”

If he was saying hello, he’d half raise his head and say, “Dude.”

If he was saying goodbye, he would half lower his head and say, “Dude.”

Over the years, I learned his different inflections of the word and often our conversations would run something like this.

He’d come into the office, raise his head and say, “Dude.”

“Dude,” I’d respond in recognition.

He’d throw his arms out to signify some large project he’d been working on and then bring his hands close together and end the gesture with a thumbs up and say happily, “Dude!”

I’d nod my head in appreciation and with a smile say, “Dude!!”

He’d then quickly nod his head and say, “Dude.” and head back out to work on something else.

He was the master of uptalk and the vocal fry.

Yep. I learned some new terms. Uptalk is saying a statement like it was a question. Say for example I asked my youngest what he did today. “Well first I cleaned my room? It was like messy. Then I mowed grass? It was like hot. Then I got a haircut? It was really, really long.” (Yes, this is an imaginary conversation.)

Vocal Fry is a low guttural noise at the end of a sentence to signify something. “He forgot my birthdaaaaaaaeeeeyyyy.” The sentence spoken aloud signified that some poor dude is in trouble for forgetting a birthday. However, spoken with the Vocal Fry at the end, well, it means the dude is in biiiiiigggg trouble. Vocal Fry is often used to make a hidden point.

I mention all this because I think uptalking and vocal fry is invading our prayers to God. Instead of saying with real humility, “Thank you God for this day” we tend to put conditions on our statements. “Thank you, God, for this day? And, uh, like, let the sun shine.”

Instead of speaking with God humbly, “Let Your will be done,” we’re trying to win an argument with God. “Let your will be doooonnneee. (Even though my hair is a mess.)”

I think that when God hears prayers filled with uptalk and Vocal Fry that God can’t help but roll His eyes, nudge Gabriel in the ribs and say, “Duuuudddee.”

Let us pray.

Our Great God and King. We come to you with humble hearts and penitent souls. Sometimes our words fail us. Sometimes we can’t vocalize our needs, but this day we ask that you listen to our hearts and our souls and know what we’re trying to say. We pray this, our heavenly Father, in the name of your Son - Jesus Christ, in the power of your Holy Spirit.


Pastor Troy is the pastor of DeWitt & St. Charles United Methodist Church. You can read his daily devotionals at their Facebook Page: