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A Nighttime Prayer ... 
Interrupted By God
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 many blessings...
* Hold it. How thankful?
* 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 don't have to suffer so.
* 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. What about your temper? You have a 
problem there, and your friends and family suffer. And then there's 
the way you spend your money... all on yourself. And how about the 
kinds 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 going to happen, I'll have to have help from the ones who are 
praying for it... like you.
All right. I guess 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?
* Yes, the guy around the corner.
"That" Ralph... but he smokes and drinks and never goes to church.
* Have you ever looked in 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.
O.K. 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 made that pretty clear.
Hey, wait a minute. What is this? Criticize "me" day? Here I am, 
doing my duty, keeping your commandments to pray. And all of a sudden 
you break in and start reminding me of all my problems.
* Well, you called Me. And here I am. Keep on praying. I'm interested 
in this 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 got fired. All my co-workers think 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 your 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 cannot 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 temptations.
* 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, 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 are 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 
movies 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 "Amens" and your head hitting the pillow for me to draw 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. Goodnight. I love you.
Good night, and I love You too.


"Neither doctrinal purity nor diligent labor will ever be a substitute for passionate devotion to God."

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