The long prayer takes up an inordinate percentage of the total worship time allotment (up to 1/6th of the entire worship experience), and only the highest level of expert white Christian has the mental stamina to remain focused for the duration of this specimen. This is why the astute white Christian mother will preempt the long prayer by distracting her family with church candy. Assuming that the purse's church candy supply has not been depleted during the offertory and/or special music, the candy is distributed to her children and husband. The candy acts as a deterrent for both prayer-time misbehavior and prayer-time sleep. White Christian mothers will use similar distraction tactics- or "dis-tractics"- prior to the passing of the communion plates.
If the gum or mint does not have the Wilhelminan longevity to keep up with the length of the prayer, many white Christians that don't have expert level long prayer stamina pass the time counting the specks of paint on the tile floor. This move gives the prayer-time "peekers" the perception that observe the hunched over white Christian that he or she is deep in prayer.
Finally, since the church bulletin went to press late Friday, the long prayer is also a great way for the pastor to squeeze in some congregational announcements that might have occurred after the bulletin's printing. "Lord, thank you for being with the Walter family during Bob's father's heart operation yesterday," updates the prayerful pastor in what is definitely a bold move. Not only was the congregation not aware of Bob's father's heart condition or need for medical procedure- the overwhelming majority of white Christian church membership can only vaguely recall that this person even exists. He might have been that one bald guy that wore the piano-key tie to his grandson's baptism three years ago... but if it's not, the congregation is forced to ask themselves, "What 'chu prayin' 'bout, Pastor?"