Every so often the compare of our service (or president, or reader...) gets the bright idea to convert a congregational prayer into a free-for-all.
I've experienced this many times over the past decades.
It NEVER works. Long awkward silences are the feature. OK in a Quaker meeting, but not in any other. The intimacy that a prayer free for all usually requires is not a happy fit with the non-intimate setting of a congregation in a large auditorium. The setting makes it not work.
I'm tempted next time we have one of these futile sessions to immediately pray that it will be over soon and that we will be spared the long awkward silence that the incongruity of intimate prayer in an populated auditorium usually brings.