"But Mom, how can they pray to God? They're not real." asked Ingrid this morning while watching the classic Shirley Temple film, "Bright Eyes". While demonstrating dubious theology (Daddy's in heaven honey...now he's a real angel with real wings), the movie did show something rarely seen in modern mainstream Hollywood: a little girl at bedtime praying to The Lord, asking Him to watch over her Daddy, and to tell her Daddy the she and her Mommy love him very much. It also got me thinking....
Ingrid recognized immediately after this bedtime prayer that the character Shirley played was not real.
How many prayers of ours aren't real? When we ask with earnestness for a new 102" flat panel with 20,200 DP, is that prayer real? If are heart is longing for some other ludicrous piece of stuff, is the prayer real? Or is it fake because our heart is not necessarily in line with God's heart? If we ask for the starving children of the Sudan to receive the meal they need to survive for today, but we are praying out of guilt, is the prayer real?
Recently I got something that I have looooonged for for a looooong time: a KitchenAid food processor, 12 cupper no less! I am truly thankful for it. Truly! But, I got along without it for 12 years of marriage, cooking and baking up a storm without its help. Was my heart wrong to long for this piece of metal and plastic? Now that it's sitting on my counter, and I have spent the last two hours rearranging my countertop and some of my kitchen cabinets in order to accomodate the adjustments necessary to house all of its attachments. But I am feeling a little bit down. After I get something that I have wanted for a long time, I feel guilty and selfish. There it is, all bright and shiny and new and beautiful. Were the longings of my heart the same as a prayer?
I guess I should move on with thanks to the gift-giver and learn a lesson about heart attitude.