Prayer

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Adapted by Ted L. Gibbons

My Dear Father in Heaven--- 
---YES? 
Don't interrupt me, I'm Praying. 
--BUT YOU CALLED ME. 
Called you? I didn't call you. I'm Praying.....My Dear Father in Heaven---- 
---THERE, YOU DID IT AGAIN. 
Did what? 
--CALLED ME. YOU SAID. "MY DEAR FATHER IN HEAVEN".  HERE I AM. 
WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND? 
But I didn't mean anything by it. I was just, you know, saying my prayers for the night.  I always say my prayers.  It makes me feel good.  Kind of like getting my duty done. 
--OH! ALL RIGHT. GO ON.

I'm Thankful for my blessings. 
---HOLD IT! HOW THANKFUL? 
What? 
--HOW THANKFUL ARE YOU FOR YOUR MANY BLESSINGS? 
I'm --- well I don't know.  How should I know?  It's just part of the prayer.  Everyone always said that I should express my thanks. 
--OH, WELL, YOU'RE WELCOME, GO AHEAD. 
Go ahead? 
---WITH THE PRAYER. 

Oh yeah.  Let's see--bless the poor and the sick and the needy and the  afflicted--- 
--DO YOU REALLY MEAN THAT? 
Well sure I mean it? 
---WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT? 
Doing? Who Me? Nothing, I guess.  I just think that it would be kind of nice if you got control of things down here like you have up there, so people didn't suffer so much. 
---HAVE I GOT CONTROL OF YOU? 

Well, I go to church, I pay my tithing.  I don't---- 
---THAT ISN'T WHAT I ASKED YOU.  HOW ABOUT YOUR TEMPER? YOU HAVE A PROBLEM, AND YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY SUFFER---AND THEN THERE'S THE WAY YOU SPEND MONEY---ALL ON YOURSELF.  AND HOW ABOUT THE KIND OF BOOKS YOU READ? 

Stop picking on me? I'm just as good as some of the rest of those I see every Sunday at church. 
--EXCUSE ME. I THOUGHT YOU WERE PRAYING FOR ME TO BLESS THE NEEDY. IF THAT IS TO HAPPEN, I'LL HAVE TO HAVE HELP FROM THE ONES WHO ARE PRAYING FOR IT---LIKE YOU. 
Oh, all right, I quess that I have a few hang ups.  Now that you mention it. 
I could probably mention some others. 
---SO COULD I.

Look, Father.  I need to finish up here.  This is taking a lot longer than usual.

Bless the Missionaries to be led to the doors of the honest in heart. 
---YOU MEAN PEOPLE LIKE RALPH? 
Ralph? 
---YEAH.  THE GUY AROUND THE CORNER. 
That Ralph?  But he smokes and drinks and never goes to church. 
---HAVE YOU HAD A LOOK AT HIS HEART LATELY? 
Of course not.  How can--- 
---I HAVE.  I LOOKED, AND IT'S ONE OF THOSE HONEST HEARTS YOU WERE JUST PRAYING ABOUT. 
Well then, get the missionaries over there, do you think I like having a non-member for a neighbor? 
---AREN'T YOU SUPPOSED TO BE A MISSIONARY?  I THOUGHT I HAD IT MADE PRETTY CLEAR.

Hey, wait a miute. What is this? Criticize "me" day?  Here I am doing my duty, keeping your commandment to pray, and all of a sudden you break in and start reminding me of all my problems. 
---WELL, YOU CALLED ME, HERE I AM.  KEEP ON PRAYING, I'M INTERESTED IN THE NEXT PART.  YOU HAVEN'T CHANGED THE ORDER AROUND HAVE YOU?--GO ON---- 
I don't want to. 
--WHY NOT? 
I know what you'll say. 
--TRY ME AND SEE.

Please forgive me of all my sins, and help me to forgive others. 
--WHAT ABOUT BILL? 
See! I knew it!  I knew you'd bring him up!  Listen, Lord, He told lies about me and I lost a job.  Everyone in that office thinks I'm a first class creep, and I didn't do anything.  I'm going to get even with him. 
---BUT YOUR PRAYERS.  WHAT ABOUT YOU PRAYERS? 
I didn't mean it. 
---WELL, AT LEAST YOU'RE HONEST.  I GUESS YOU ENJOY CARRYING THAT LOAD OF BITTERNESS AROUND, DON'T YOU? 
No, I don't, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even. 
--DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? 
What secret? 
---YOU WON'T FEEL BETTER, YOU'LL FEEL WORSE.  LISTEN TO ME.  YOU FORGIVE BILL AND I'LL FORGIVE YOU. 
But Lord, I can't forgive Bill. 
---THEN I CAN'T FORGIVE YOU. 
No matter what? 
--NO MATTER WHAT.  BUT YOU'RE NOT THROUGH WITH YOUR PRAYER YET. 
GO ON. 

Oh.  All right---Please help me to control my feelings and not yield to temptation. 
---GOOD, GOOD, I'LL DO JUST THAT.  BUT YOU STOP PUTTING YOURSELF IN ALL THOSE PLACES WHERE YOU CAN BE TEMPTED. 
What do you mean by that? 
---QUIT HANGING AROUND THE MAGAZINE RACKS AND SPENDING SO MUCH TIME IN FRONT OF THE TUBE.  SOME OF THAT STUFF IS GOING TO GET TO YOU SOONER OR LATER.  YOU'LL FIND YOURSELF INVOLVED IN SOME TERRIBLE THINGS BEFORE LONG---AND DON'T USE ME FOR AN ESCAPE HATCH EITHER. 
An escape hatch?  I don't understand. 
--SURE YOU DO.  YOU'VE DONE IT LOTS OF TIMES--YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A CRISIS SITUATION, AND THEN YOU COME RUNNING TO ME.  "LORD, HELP ME OUT OF THIS MESS AND I PROMISE I'LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN." 

IT'S AMAZING HOW THE QUALITY AND INTENSITY OF YOUR PRAYERS IMPROVE WHEN YOU'RE IN TROUBLE.  DO YOU REMEMBER SOME OF THOSE BARGAINS YOU TRIED TO MAKE WITH ME? 
Well. I don't think---oh--yeah--like the time mom's visiting teacher saw me coming out of that movie about---oh, brother!!!! 
----DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR PRAYER?  I DO.  OH GOD, DON'T LET HER TELL MY MOTHER WHERE I'VE BEEN.  I PROMISE I'LL GO TO NOTHING BUT G-RATED FROM NOW ON.  SHE DIDN'T TELL YOUR MOTHER, BUT YOU DIDN'T KEEP YOUR PROMISE, DID YOU? 
No, Lord, I didn't. I'm sorry 
--SO AM I.  GO AHEAD AND FINISH YOUR PRAYER.

Wait a minute.  I want to ask you a question.  Do you always listen to my prayers? 
--EVERY WORD.  EVERY TIME. 
Then how come you never talked back to me before? 

---HOW MANY CHANCES HAVE YOU GIVEN ME? THERE'S NOT ENOUGH TIME BETWEEN YOUR "AMEN" AND YOUR HEAD HITTING THE PILLOW FOR ME TO TAKE A BREATH. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GIVE AN ANSWER? 
You could, if you really wanted to. 
--NO.  I COULD IF YOU REALLY WANTED ME TO.  CHILD, I ALWAYS WANT TO. 

Father, I am sorry.  Will you forgive me? 
--I ALREADY HAVE AND THANKS FOR LETTING ME INTERRUPT.  I GET LONELY TO TALK TO YOU SOMETIMES.  GOOD NIGHT. I LOVE YOU. 
Good night. And I love you, too.