What Happens When You Pray?
Our Father who art in Heaven. . . .
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying. . . .
But you called Me.
Called you? I didn't call you. I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.
There, you did it again.
Called Me. You said, "Our Father who art in Heaven." Here I
am. What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the
day. I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting my duty done.
All right. Go on.
Hallowed be Thy name.
Hold it. What do you mean by that?
By "Hallowed be Thy name."
It means....it means....good grief, 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 about what "Hallowed" meant
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 going to do about it?
Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be 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 that habit of lust you have? And your
bad temper? You've really got a problem there, you know. And then there's the way you spend your money... all on
yourself. And what about the kinds of books you read?
Stop picking on me! I'm just as good as some of the rest of those phonies at the
Excuse me....I thought you were praying for My will to be done. If that is to
happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.
Oh, all right! I guess 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 until now, but I really would like to cut out some of
those things. I'd like to, you know, be really free.
Good, now we're getting somewhere. We'll work together...you and I can have
some victories that can truly be won. I'm proud of you.
Look Lord, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually
Give us this day our daily bread.
You need to cut down on the bread too...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 too.
Scared? Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try Me and see.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Mary?
See I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why she's told lies about me, cheated
me out of money. She never paid back that debt she owes me. I've sworn to get even.
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 the load of
bitterness around inside, is it?
No, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I made some plans for old
Mary! She'll wish she never did me any harm.
You won't feel any better. You'll feel worse. Revenge isn't sweet. Think of
how unhappy you are already. But I can change all that.
You can? How?
Forgive Mary. Then I'll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Mary's
problem and not yours. You may lose the money, but you will settle your heart.
But Lord, I can't forgive Mary.
Then I can't forgive you.
Oh, you're right! You always are. And more than I want revenge on Mary, I want to be
right with You. All right! I forgive her. Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She's bound to be awfully
miserable, now that I think about it. Some way, some how, show her the right way.
There now! How do you feel?
Hmmm...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't 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.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Good...good. I'll do that. Just don't put yourself in a place where you can
What do you mean by that?
Quit hanging around the wrong places, watching inappropriate movies and
television, listening to sinful conversations; hanging around the places where Playboy and Playgirl are 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 lots of times. You get caught in a bad situation,
you get into trouble and then you come running to me. "Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you 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 bargains are you remembering?
Well, when the woman next door saw me backing away from the neighborhood bar. I'd
told my husband I was going to the store. I remember telling you, "Lord don't let her tell my husband where
I've been. I promise I'll be in church every Sunday."
She didn't tell your husband, but you didn't keep your promise, did you?
I'm sorry Lord, I really am. Up until now I thought if I just prayed the Lord's
prayer everyday, then I could do what I liked. I didn't expect anything to happen like it did.
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Do you know what would bring me glory? What would make me really happy?
No, but I'd like to know. I want to please You. I can see what a mess I've made out
of my life, and I can see how great it would be to really be one of Your followers.
You just answered the question.
Yes, the one thing that would being me glory is to have people like you truly
love me. And I can see that happening between us. Now that some of these old 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, OK?
Yes, let's see.
Excerpt from "If God Talked Out Loud"
by Clyde Herring
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Posted: September 2003