Let Us Pray

I’ve read that church attendance is down and it seems that, in general, people are becoming less religious. However, according to a recent survey, a majority of people around the world say that religion continues to be very important in their lives. Another study found that nearly half of Americans pray every day. I assume the rest of the planet prays as much as we do which means that Heaven is still getting a lot of requests. That got me wondering how God keeps up. He is almighty but still….

It wasn’t just the volume of pleas that I wondered about. I had questions about the whole praying thing, so I went to see our Creator to find out how it all works these days.

Here is the transcript of our conversation:

Me: Hi God it’s me. Do you have a minute?

God: I’m kind of busy but what’s on your mind?

Me: Well, I have some questions about prayer.

Ruth (God’s Administrative Assistant): God, you have a prayer on line 1.

God: It’s not Mike Pence again, is it?

Ruth: No, it’s Clara Jones. She lost her cat.

God: Send St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things, down to find it and send my messenger, the angel Gabriel, with a directive to keep her door shut so the damn cat doesn’t keep escaping.

Ruth: Will do. Oh, and you have a prayer coming in from Jack Wilson.

God: Jack Wilson from Buffalo?

Ruth: No, it’s the Jack Wilson from Cleveland. Want to hear it?

God: No, put it in my voice mail. That pervert’s prayers are always X-rated. His last one even made me blush. I didn’t know that was even possible. Plus, I have to sort prayers by priority. We are a little backed up after the incident last week.

Me: What happened?

God: Some Russian computer jocks hacked into our prayer system and started having all thoughts and prayers come to us. Our system was only designed to handle prayers. It crashed. I thought it would take a miracle to fix it.

Those Russian bots are still active.

Me: Well, miracles are kind of what you do, right?

God: Sure, if you want the Red Sea parted, I can do that, or if you are having a dinner party and don’t have enough food, I can feed the multitudes, as long as they like fish and loaves of bread.

Me: You can do modern miracles can’t you?

God: Of course. You don’t think the Cubs won the World Series on their own do you? Not with that bullpen. But here’s the thing, I’m not really that proficient with today’s technologies. So I put St. Isidore, the patron saint of computers and the internet on it. He was able to get the system fixed and I rewarded him by turning some water into wine for him. But it put us behind in managing prayers.

God: What’s on your mind?

Me: Well, I know that Heaven gets millions of prayers every day. Do you listen to them all?

God: In the beginning it was easy because there was only Adam and Eve. But you guys really took to heart that passage about being fruitful and multiplying. It turns out that humans are like rabbits. Today there are 7.5 BILLION people on Earth. So yes, Heaven does get a lot of prayers. Nevertheless, we listen to them all. Our new prayer system helps and, as you heard, I get the saints to assist me.

Me: Should we send requests to you or to a saint?

God: You can start with me but you can also pray to a saint as they can intercede on your behalf. They have powerful prayers which means they have my ear.

Me: Which saint should one pray to?

God: That depends on what you want or need. Often times it seems that St. Bibiana, the patron saint of hangovers, would be a good one for you.

Me: You have a patron Saint for hangovers?

God: Yes, and he’s pretty busy especially on weekends, but I do need to update the saints’ duties. I still have four that are the patron saint of shepards. But, as you can imagine, we just don’t get many prayers from shepards anymore. Whereas we don’t have anyone specifically designated to handle the prayers of those on Weight-Watchers, or E-Harmony or those nominated to the Supreme Court. I need to do some reshuffling of responsibilities.

Me: Understood. By the way what are people asking for these days?

God: Most are praying for family and friends or their own problems and difficulties or to seek help for those suffering from natural disasters. I take these very seriously. Then we get people praying for a parking spot or that they won’t get another speeding ticket. Of course, on the weekends there are a lot of prayers for sports teams.

Me: Do you answer all prayers?

God: Of course not. I’m not a genie. Just think about it. When the Dodgers win this year’s World Series, I will have answered the prayers of millions of Dodgers fans but none of those from Red Sox fans.

Me: The Dodgers are going to win the World Series?

God: Oops. Forget I said that.

Me: What prayers do you answer?

God: Well, I have to make a choice sometimes. For example, when the Powerball jackpot gets really high, everyone asks for their number to come up. There will only be one or two people or groups whose prayers will be granted while millions will be disappointed. There is one accounting department in St Louis that always prays that they will win, but they never do. I should probably let them win next time. After all being accountants, they have suffered enough. So you see, I can’t answer all prayers.

Me: So how can I improve the chances of getting mine addressed?

God: Well, you should pray for good things and remember that I will only grant wishes that are in accordance with my will. You should seek more help for hurricane victims and lost puppies and less for your fantasy football team.

Me: Ok, I understand.

Ruth: Lord, you have Mike Pence on line 2.

God: Not again! It’s always a crisis with that guy. Sorry, I need to take this.

So, there you have it. God hears all of our prayers but he only answers those that are just and in accordance with his will. However, I’m still going to give an occasional prayer for my fantasy football team. It couldn’t hurt.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.