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Archive for September 30th, 2006

THE LORD’S PRAYER

“Our Father which are in Heaven…”

Yes?

Don’t interrupt me—I’m praying.

But you called me.

Called you? I didn’t call you!  I’m praying, “Our Father which art in Heaven…”

There, you did it again.

Did What?

Called me.  You said, “Our Father which art in Heaven.” Here I am. What’s on your mind?

But I didn’t mean it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer, It makes me feel good. Like getting a duty done.

All right. Go on.

“Hallowed be Thy Name…”

Hold it. What do you mean by that?

By what?

By, “Hallowed be Thy Name.”

It means…it means…I don’t know what it means! How should I know? It’s just part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?

It means honored, holy, wonderful…

Hey, that makes sense. I never thought what “hallowed” meant before. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…”

Do you really mean that?

Sure, why not?

What are you doing about it?

Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.

Have I got control of YOU?

Well, I go to church.

That isn’t what I asked you. What about the habit of lust you have?  And your bad temper? You really have a problem there, you know. And then there’s the way you spend your money…all on yourself.  And what about the kind of books you read?

Stop picking on me! I’m just as good as some of the rest of those phonies at church!

Excuse me. I thought you were praying for My will to be done. If that is so, to happen it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.

Oh, all right. I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

So could I.

I haven’t thought about it much until now, but I really would like to cut some of those things. I would like to, you know, really be free.

Good, now we’re getting somewhere. We’ll work together, you and I. Some victories can be won. I’m proud of you.

Look, Lord, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. “Give us this day our daily bread…”

You need to cut the bread. You’re overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this? “Criticize Me Day”? Here I was, doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups!

Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed, you know. That’s what I’m trying to get across to you. You called me and here I am. It’s too late to stop now. Keep on praying. I’m interested in the next part of your prayer…………..Well, go on.

I’m scared to.

Scared? Of what?

I know what you’ll say.

Try me and see.

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…”

What about Bill?

See? I knew it! I knew you would bring it up! Why, Lord, he’s told lies about me. Cheated me out of some money. He never paid back that debt he owed me. I’ve sworn to get even with him!

But your prayer? What about your prayer?

I didn’t mean it.

Well, at least you’re honest. But it’s not much fun carrying that load of bitterness around inside, is it?

No, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I got some plans for Bill! He’ll wish he never did me any harm.

You won’t feel better. You’ll feel worse. Revenge isn’t sweet. Think of how unhappy you are now. But I can change all that.

You can? How?

Forgive Bill. Then I’ll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Bill’s problem, not yours. You may lose the money, but you will have settled your heart.

But Lord, I can’t forgive Bill.

Then I can’t forgive you

Oh, you’re right. You always are. And more than I want revenge on Bill, I want to be right with you………Alright, alright. I forgive him. Help him find the right road in life, Lord.  He’s bound to be miserable, now that I think about it. Anybody who goes around doing the things he does to others has to be out of it. Somehow, some way, show him the right way.

There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?

Hmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don’t think I’ll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won’t be so tired from now on because I’m not getting enough rest.

You’re not through with your prayer. Go on.

Oh, all right. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Good! Good! I’ll do that. Just please don’t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

Quit hanging around the magazine stand, video and music stores where unwholesome material is sold. Change some of your friendships. Some of your so-called friends are beginning to get to you. They’ll have you completely involved in wrong things before long. Don’t be fooled. They advertise they’re having fun, but for you it would be ruin. Don’t use ME for an escape hatch.

I don’t understand.

Sure you do. You’ve done it a lot of times. You get caught in a bad situation. You get in trouble and then you come running to me. “Lord, help me out of this mess, and I’ll never do it again.” You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?

Yes. And I’m ashamed, Lord, I really am.

Which bargain are you remembering?

Well, when the woman next door saw me coming out of the “adult” bookstore. I’d told my mother I was going to a store. I remember telling you, “Oh, God, Don’t let her tell Mom where I’ve been. I promise I’ll be in church every Sunday.”

She didn’t tell your mother, but you didn’t keep your promise, did you?

I’m sorry, Lord, I really am. Up until now, I thought that if I prayed the Lord’s Prayer every day, then I could do what I like. I didn’t expect anything to happen like it did.

Okay. Go ahead and finish your prayer.

“For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?

No. But I’d like to know. I want now to please you. I can see what a mess I’ve made of my life. And I can see how neat it would be to really be one of your followers.

You just answered the question.

I did?

Yes. The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love. And I see that happening between us. Now that some of those sins are exposed and out of the way, well, there’s no telling what we can do together.

Lord, let’s see what we can make of  me, okay?

Yes, let’s see!

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