Air police, city police, county police, highway police, store police, fashion police…where will it end? I guess after this one…pray police. Last night I became the pray police.
I was in the backyard spraying weeds and the boys were on the trampoline asking a thousand questions about, what I was spraying , why they couldn’t just walk through the grass if they had their socks on, and Wyatt wanted to know the difference between poison and poison ivy. (Wow that’s a long sentence and I’m sure grammatically incorrect)
Then off in the distance they hear the echoing through the hills of Ada...the ice cream truck! “Dad can we have a dollar, hurry?!” Now if you know me those two words don’t go together in a sentence, as in, “dollar” and “hurry”.
So I thought about it for a second and decided okay here’s four dollars. And left them with a token parental, “…and don’t let your little brother run into the street” as they whizzed through the back gate.
But they weren’t fast enough. The multicolored polka dotted 1982 Chevy EconoVan cruised right by and down hill just seconds before they could get there. And by the way is the 1982 Chevy EconoVan standard issue in the mobile neighborhood ice-cream industry or just the preferred vehicle? That’s another post for another day.
The boys were gone for a little while so as I went to check on them. There I found Winston, disappointed, but patiently waiting at the curb leaning up against the trash cans I hadn’t brought back to the house since the morning trash pickup. I asked what he was doing and he said he was waiting for the ice cream truck to come back up the hill. I stood there with him a minute and couldn’t hear the music, which normally can be heard from 6 city blocks away. I finally said, “Buddy, I don’t think he’s coming back tonight.” Winston looked up at me and said, “But Daddy I prayed to God for him to come back and everything.”
Now being the expert on prayer, raised in a Christian home, and having a Batphone connection with God, and a pastor which has to put me on a much higher level, living in the Bible belt, and because I read my Bible daily I BECAME THE PRAYER POLICE and at that moment instantly my first thought was, “Well son that’s probably not something we should pray for.” Even half the thought transformed into words and came out of my mouth before I caught myself in all my arrogance.
You know, the “right” things we pray for are world peace, the end of hunger, a cure for cancer, “all those who can’t be with us today bring them back at the next appointed time”…NOT for the ice cream truck to come back. I AM THE PRAY POLICE AND I FIND 8 YEAR OLD WINSTON BROWN IN VIOLATION OF A LEGITATE PRAYER!
What does this kid know? I mean are you going to tell me he was truly listening to his parents when they said you can ask God for ANYTHING?
Can you convince me he really believes Matthew 21:22 (TNIV) “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Or 1 John 5:14-20 (The Message) “And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he's listening…”
Huh! Who believes that? At the Pray Police Academy they teach us that those are just memory verses and somewhere in those verses there must be an exclusion for ice cream trucks and 8 year olds who don’t know any better.
Really?? Who is an expert prayer? A pastor? A parent? Someone who has enough wind to go on for 5 plus minutes? A perfect attendance church goer?
A prayer is not something to be memorized or contain phrases that become so routine they lose their meaning. It’s not something for show. No, prayer is our direct line to God. Prayer is our chance to sit on His lap like a child and tell him our thoughts, praises, feeling, hurts, joys, and fears. Phillip Yancy in his book “Prayer” says “When it comes to prayer we are all beginner.”
The literal true beginners, as in kids being beginners in this world, get it so much better than us “mature adult Christians”. In fact, they hear messages and hear scripture and they believe it! Actually, they go beyond that and here’s what separates them from us…they don’t just believe it…THEY LIVE IT! They pray for ice cream trucks, they pray for dead cats, they pray for the Crocodile Hunter, they pray for whatever they can’t handle but know God can. WOW! And that’s just the out-of-control stuff. Don’t get them get started on what they are thankful for! Candy, dogs and cats that haven’t died, candy, swings, trampolines…
As for the ice cream truck prayer in question, well, after careful review we traced the source of the prayer to Winston Brown’s heart. With that being the case we have no choice but to drop all charges! If God is listening and has time for an ice cream truck prayer then the Prayer Police don’t have a problem with it either.
And, effective immediately I’ll be stepping down from my post as the Prayer Police. I’m finding out that though I’m color blind and my wife dresses me in the mornings I’d have a better shot at Fashion Police. “Hey you! Yeah you! Are those socks you have on navy or black…”