Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Bless the Dog!"

There we were, house sitting with a bunch of teenagers. That would have been enough of a challenge, but some of them were missionary kids as well, so any thing could happen. All appeared to be going rather smoothly until bedtime rolled around and we gathered in one bedroom for prayer. Since Christian kids and missionary kids in particular are generally used to family prayer, that also seemed to be going normally until we came to our son. Our one and only son was, as I recall about the age of either four or impossible, whichever. At any rate, this was the night he chose to prove he was a preacher's son who, like his dad, could launch into a prayer for just about everything in the known universe when occasion called for it. Being so moved, he began praying when his turn came and determined not to finish until he had tried the patience of everyone, and blessed every living creature. Just about the time he had named everyone - so we thought - he interjected one more request: "Bless the dog -." At this point, his mother had had enough. "Don't bless the dog!" she interrupted, thinking, no doubt that if he started naming the animal kingdom, we might never get to bed. At this, he suddenly began wailing in showers of tears, and at the top of his lungs, "I wanna bless the dog!" Pandemonium reigned. To regain order, my wife quickly caved, "All right, you can bless the dog." Like a switch immediately thrown, and a faucet turned off, our pint-sized thunderstorm abruptly calmed, turned to his mother, and politely asked "What's the dog's name?"
We all did our best to contain the well of hilarity dying to erupt within us. With every ounce of self-control we could muster, we held ourselves until the little prayer warrior finished. Then, one more teenager had the nearly impossible job of closing in prayer without losing her composure. When the last "Amen" sounded, pandemonium returned, and it was a good five minutes before we could catch our breath from laughter. I didn't know whether to be proud of my son for insisting on praying or upset for his obvious tantrum. I suspect it was a little of both. When we ask the little ones to pray, anything can happen. I remember hearing of a little girl who asked the blessing on her food by praying: "God is great, God is good. Let us spank Him for our food." She probably blessed her dog too.

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