TRL was never really about the music videos.
TRL wasn’t really about the boy bands.
TRL, or Total Request Live by its full name, wasn’t even really about the requests.
TRL was all about the Shout Outs.
For the better part of a decade, Total Request Live aired Monday-Friday on MTV. It was the most important show, like, ever created in the history of the world to a certain generation of teens and tweens. Every day Carson Daly (and later some far less memorable VJs) would count down the hottest music videos of the day as voted by fans.
I remember calling the 800 number to try to make sure a Weird Al video made it onto the countdown. I’m sure I called in other times, but I definitely remember doing it for this.
But what I really wanted was to get my Shout Out on the air. During the videos on TRL fans in the studio and at home could make Shout Outs to their friends.
The freaked out fan’s face would became famous for a good five seconds as they screamed their love for 98 Degrees or waved hello to their BFF back home. Or their name and message would scroll across the bottom of the screen while Britney Spears was singing (or lip-syncing). This – this was everything.
The TRL Shout Out was incredible because it mixed the ordinary with the extraordinary. Ordinary people were all of a sudden sharing the same screen with Nelly and Fred Durst. This was the reason to watch TRL.
I think prayer is a lot like TRL. When you think about it, prayer is not really about the requests we give to God. It’s really all about the Shout Out.
What makes prayer incredible is the mingling of the ordinary and the extraordinary – the opportunity for a normal human being to share the presence of the Most Holy God.
Sometimes people get too caught up in the request aspect of prayer. Sure, The Bible teaches us to come to God and ask for the desires of our hearts.
The thing is, my prayers aren’t always answered the way I want them to be.
What I’m realizing as I get older is prayer is not just about making requests to God and seeing Him answer them. I’m not one of those people who believes in unanswered prayers either; I think God answers every prayer and sometimes His answer is, “No.”
I’m learning now prayer is about simply being in the presence of God. Prayer is about taking a moment to align myself with God and recognize a Higher Power’s control over the confusion in my life. Prayer is about the joy of simply being able to give a Shout Out to God and have Him hear it.
Instead of making a request to God today, try resting in the power of His presence and enjoying His company as you give a Shout Out to Him.
Speaking of requests, I’d like to try something new on POP GOD today. I want to open the blog up to your requests.
The seeds of POP GOD were sown my first year at youth camp. One of the bible study teachers brought out the “Preacher’s Box”.
A student would get to keep the box for the afternoon and put whatever they wanted inside. The next day the speaker would open up the box, sight unseen, pull out whatever was inside, and connect the object to God.
I was amazed by this, and ever since then I’ve challenged myself to do the same. When I look at the world I try to see God in it everywhere I go.
I never did the “Preacher’s Box” in my time as a youth minister. But if I was ever stuck when trying to come up with a children’s sermon I would just look around my office or my house and pick a random object or movie and challenge myself to find a connection to God in them.
So today I’m asking you, the reader, to challenge me. I’m handing you the “Preacher’s Box”. Leave a comment, or send me a tweet or email or Facebook message. Give me an idea for POP GOD. A song, a movie, a Youtube video, a pop culture memory of any kind. I’ll take your challenge to connect it to God and do a blog post on it.
POP GOD is all about the idea of God being all around us, if we will just look for Him. Come along on this journey with me as seek the extraordinary among the ordinary.
Let’s hear it – Leave a request in the comments section for a future POP GOD topic. No restrictions: