This kid’s prayer is positively hilarious, which is why I had to pass it along:
Oh, Steve-o… are you sure this lady didn’t get your sermon note by mistake?
This is definitely a Dude Prayer. No female would write a prayer like this, especially one raised by an old school Catholic mother who made you feel guilty for not being thankful for day old tuna casserole served over burnt mashed potatoes with big black flakes in them. (How many times did I hear,”You should thank God you HAVE food!” and Mom meant it.) No female I know would have written this prayer, regardless of age, not even a girl raised in a more “Jesus loves me” type Protestant tradition.
I remember if you were doing an assignment on prayer for CCD- first you would go with the standard rote prayers such as the Our Father and Hail Mary. Those were Safe Prayers. If you had to make up your own prayers, you pretty much came up with the obligatory prayers for the conversion of heathens (i.e. Protestants…) and for starving children in Africa. If you had the gall to write a prayer asking God for a pony, or a prayer asking God to send your sadistic older siblings to Africa with the starving kids, then Sister Mary Refrigerator Perry (and I think she was actually bigger than the football player and a lot more ugly) would call your Mom and you would be dragged to Confession so you could tell Father Whoever Was Hearing Confessions That Day how evil and selfish you were.
Father Furey was the only priest with a sense of humor. Everyone wanted to get Father Furey at Confession time. He would usually laugh and tell you to pray to the Holy Spirit to help you do better. I think if Jesus had been a priest He would have been like Father Furey. He had a lot of compassion for human frailty, especially kids’. The other priests weren’t usually as forgiving, and one in particular would go on and on about all the stuff you have to do to cut down your time in purgatory. (I became a Lutheran in high school, BTW…Martin Luther had a point- 95 of them, to be specific!)
I would never have written out a prayer as an assignment in CCD that would make any insinuation that I might be proud of the fact that I occasionally indulge in any of the Seven Deadly Sins (Pride, Greed, Envy, Anger, Lust, Gluttony and Sloth), let alone both gluttony and sloth. I did not want Mom to get a phone call from Sister Mary Refrigerator Perry (the director of Religious Education,) for any reason, and I tried to avoid going to Confession any more than the one time a month when Mom made us go. My childhood prayers mostly consisted of asking God to forgive the sins I couldn’t remember doing so I wouldn’t die and go straight to hell, and asking Him not to send me to hell for wishing my sisters would either run away or drop dead. I remember when I was reminded to pray, thanking God for puppies and kittens, and thanking Him for those few and far between days when my sisters didn’t have the opportunity to beat the hell out of me. Hell was quite the ongoing theme in my childhood. Prayer, and religion in general, to my childhood mind, was all about avoiding hell.
There is so much more to Christianity than avoiding hell. I appreciate the kid’s honesty though. Who doesn’t want to watch TV and eat?
Jesus told the disciples to let the little children come to Him- not to scare them away with hellfire. I believe there is a literal hell, and Jesus Himself said that apart from Him that’s where I would be headed, but there is so much more to God and life and relating than simply avoiding hell. I would rather come to Jesus just like this little boy did- honestly. I am one of those people who has done a lot of theological questioning over the years. Mom was none too thrilled when I joined the ranks of the “heathens” (to be fair, Catholics now refer to Protestants as “separated brethren,” which is a little nicer sounding than “heathen”) but I had to be honest with my own heart, my own relationship with God and how He is helping me understand it. There were too many things specifically in Catholicism that I couldn’t reconcile in my heart and mind to honestly profess to be Roman Catholic. I’m certainly not the model Christian by any stretch of the imagination, but my upbringing forced me to ask questions- to “seek, knock and ask” because I saw so many apparent contradictions between my very old school Vatican I Catholic mother and my very fundamental old time Baptist grandmother. I come to find out that neither “side” is completely “right” or completely “wrong.” They share far more in common than most people realize. No one “side” has a corner on the truth- and the starting point is that of the little child. Honesty. The little child doesn’t get the starving kids in Africa. I know I did wish a lot of evil on both of my sisters. I liked eating and watching TV as much as the next person. The cool part about this is God already knows that, but He wants to love and work through us anyway. We come to Him as we are and then HE makes us what He created us to be.
Now that’s an honest prayer!