He does morning prayers with our dog every day. She sits on his lap facing him. They bow their heads, foreheads together looking at each other. Steven closes his eyes and says:
Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, thank you for your many blessings. Lord, help me be the dog you want me to be, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
It’s quite lovely to witness. For that moment in time, our brat dog looks angelic, and I believe that all will be well. Until she jumps down, runs into the closet, grabs a sock out of the laundry hamper and high tails it down the hall, out the doggie door and deposits the sock in the yard. And that’s how I know God has a sense of humor. He is answering the prayer. He has made Maritza the dog He wants her to be. I keep asking Steven to ask God to help her be the dog I want her to be. But my stubborn husband just won’t do it and God knows that! Well played, God!
I’m much more relaxed with God. I don’t really know why. I was brought up Catholic with all the traditional rites and prayers. Yet, somewhere along the way, I stopped using those pre-written, catechism class prayers and just began my lifelong conversation with God. After I began to focus on this particular habit, I realized that I really am directing both my silent chats and those shrieks of “Are You kidding me?” and “Oh, crap! Help me get out of this” or “Thank God” directly to God. I know all the pious people, Steven included, will probably take umbrage with my format, but I reiterate, I know God has a sense of humor.
When Steven was first diagnosed with cancer, he was in the hospital. They had been running tests on him for days trying to figure out what was going on. Then, finally came a MRI that showed a huge tumor. By the time tumor day had rolled around, it was the weekend. An oncologist was brought in. We had waited all day, and naturally the doctor showed up after I left. When Steven phoned me he was dazed. He recapped the conversation but the biggest issue was not with WHAT the doctor said, it was HOW he said it. Steven knew instantly that this man could not be his doctor. He told me he was sure that if this man treated him he would definitely die.
“Oh God, are you kidding me? Help us get out of this (And this is my all time favorite prayer) What do I do?” I prayed different versions of that all night. The next morning, before I arrived at the hospital, Steven had a visit from one of his co-workers before she went to work. Lillian was a bible-toting christian with a big heart and a prayer for every occasion. She held his hand and prayed, asking God to send the medical team that Steven needed. Right after Lillian left, in walked R. Duff Sprawls, MD, our godsend. He shook Steven’s hand and apologized that he had someone covering for him while he was away for the weekend. And oh, by the way, he really wanted to be Steven’s doctor, “Because I think I can make you well. And in my business you need to have some wins to make your record look good. You will improve my averages.” Is that an answer to a prayer, or what?
So whose style of prayer was best. Steven prayed to God for the help He wanted us to have. Lillian prayed for the medical professionals that we needed. And I used my standard “Oh crap, get us out of this” coupled with “Please don’t let him die”.
If you think you know the answer, beware. It’s a trick question. They all worked. Call it what you want and do it how you like. However you pray, like the Nike commercial says, “Just Do It”. And then just believe He heard you. And be grateful. Tell him:
“Thank you God…You got us out of another one. I owe you. Now, I’ll be out in the back yard picking up socks…Yeah, thanks again for that, AMEN.