Is there such a thing as a "silly prayer"?

If you want to dialogue on a topic that has dual perspectives from those inside of the church bottle, as well as the culture reading the label on the outside of our bottle, this is it.

When the cultural community hears someone "brag" (I'm not so sure it is always praise) about God answering their prayer for an "up-front, close parking spot," the cultural community can get downright angry. With 13-million orphaned children dying in the face of HIV and AIDS, they ask, "Who cares about your prima-donna parking spot; so you have to walk 50 yards... maybe God wants you to have better heart health?"

Just the other day a co-worker entered the break room proclaiming that God had just answered her prayer. Seems that she had been having a bad morning, and she asked the Lord for a parking spot closer to the building. She wasn't late, nor was there an emergency awaiting her immediate attention. She explained, "I needed to have a good start to the week, so I asked God for the the best parking spot in the corporate lot."

I tried to put this situation out of my mind for the rest of the day, but my weakness is analysis; I over-analyze everything. I couldn't help but notice the 'unsaved' fellow employees sitting in the break room when she came in announcing her miracle. Their demeanor became subdued, and a few eyes were looking across the kitchen table synchronizing with others as if to say, "is she serious?"

I also noticed a few individuals playing back recent trials and tribulations in this minds. One co-worker had recently lost a close family member to cancer. If I could have read her mind... "So God answers Peggy's prayers for parking spots, but not for husbands and fathers who are suffering with cancer."

Yes, God is in the details of our lives and our hearts. He wants us to cast every care upon Him. I believe that Abba Father performs many miracles - most of which we never notice. As absurd as this may sound, I do believe God answers "silly prayers." Maybe it's a maturity thing; you know... as a child I spoke as a child, but then I was encouraged to put away childish things. Maybe it's the American in us. Because of tedium, or creature comforts, we 'feel' we have to pray about 'something.' We pick trivial matters to pray about, so to satisfy our tedious Christian culture.

Recently I heard an attempt at a 'silly prayer' coming from my lovely daughter. She's an accomplished violin player in high school. On the day's drive to school, she was telling me about a challenge that she had within her orchestra. To keep the players sharp, certain rules allow orchestra members to be challenged by other members who reside in lower orchestral positions. It is a friendly competition that keeps all the performers sharp and in practice.

On this morning my daughter asked, "Dad, can we pray that I win my challenge today?" I was compelled by conviction to reply, "Yes, we can pray that you allow God to use this event for His will and perfect lesson inside of Graceland." I told her that we should ask Jesus to bless our talents and practice, and prepare us for the win or the loss today. For God's will may be in the winning (the front parking spot), or the losing (the back lot space), but His love and grace is in the mix for you no matter the outcome.

To my surprise, she lost the challenge that morning. Yet, I believe she 'won in the walk' from the back parking space - a walk that Jesus joined her in, as He showered her with His amazing grace and personal love that goes beyond where we park our cars, but rather where we park our hearts in the corporate offices of Graceland.

Eric Hogue was the 2004 recipient of the Andy Anderson Award as Salem Communications' 'Talk Show Host of the Year'. Hogue is a former Pastor, veteran husband, a 'learning' father, and the common man's Christian. He is also credited with starting the 2003 re-call of California Governor Gray Davis. The Eric Hogue Show is heard weekday afternoons at 5 on The Spirit of the Bay, AM 1100 KFAX and AM 710 KFIA.

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