A Simple Prayer

by Peggy Porter
  My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad."

  That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son. The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed. Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out. The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And he did. I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn't do.

  Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom). Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning," the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

  Then the big night came. With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race. Once there my little one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

  A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's, lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle. To add to the humiliation Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side, Gilbert had "mom."

  As the race began it was done in elimination fashion. You kept racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide eyed, shy eight year old ask if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray. The race stopped.

  Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father. He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, 'Okay, I am ready."

  As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's car.

  Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank you" as the crowd roared in approval. The Cub Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?"

  To which my young son answered, "Oh, no sir. That wouldn't be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to make it so I don't cry when I lose."

  Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to win the race, he didn't ask God to fix the out come, Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn't cry out to God, "No fair, they had a fathers help."

  No, he went to his Father for strength. Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God's strength to get through the struggle. "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippines 4:13

  Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request. He didn't pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn't there without a "dad," but His Father was most definitely there with him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side.


A New Outlook On Life

I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time at work. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.

I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank. "Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.

I'm not sure what my cousins would've done had they known that they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends.

They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, or for whatever their favorite food was. I'm guessing; I'll never know.

It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

If you received this it is because someone cares for you. If you're too busy to take the few minutes that it takes right now to forward this, would it be the first time you didn't do the little thing that would make a difference in your relationships? I can tell you it certainly won't be the last. Take a few minutes to send this to a few people you care about, just to let them know that you're thinking of them. "People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."


Kids do the craziest things in church

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A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible, and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed in between the pages. "Momma, look what I found," the boy called out. "What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered: "I think it's Adam's suit!"
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Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother Joel were sitting Together in church. Joel giggled, sang, and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had enough. "You're not supposed to talk out loud in church." "Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, "See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers."
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One Sunday in a midwest city a young child was "acting up"during the morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer the little one called loudly to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
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And this particular four-year-old prayed: "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."
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During the minister's prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Gary's mother was horrified.She pinched him into silence, and after church, asked: "Gary, whatever made you do such a thing?" Gary answered soberly: "I asked God to teach me to whistle...And He just then did!"
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One night Mike's parents overheard this prayer. "Now I lay me down to rest, and hope to pass tomorrow's test, if I should die before I wake, that's one less test I have to take."
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A little boy was overheard praying: "Lord, if You can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am!"
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THE CHRISTIAN ALPHABET POEM

A lthough things are not perfect
B ecause of trial or pain
C ontinue in thanksgiving
D o not begin to blame
E ven when the times are hard
F ierce winds are bound to blow
G od is forever able
H old on to what you know
I magine life without His love
J oy would cease to be
K eep thanking Him for all the things
L ove imparts to thee
M ove out of "Camp Complaining"
N o weapon that is known
O n earth can yield the power
P raise can do alone
Q uit looking at the future
R edeem the time at hand
S tart every day with worship
T o "thank" is a command
U ntil we see Him coming
V ictorious in the sky
W e'll run the race with gratitude
X alting God most high
Y es, there will be good times and yes some will be bad, but... Z ion waits in glory...where none are ever sad! Hallelujah!


NATURAL HIGHS         Falling in love.
    Laughing so hard your face hurts.
    A hot shower.
    No lines at the Super Wal-Mart.
    A special glance.
    Getting mail.
    Taking a drive on a pretty road.
        Hearing your favorite song on the radio.
  Lying in bed listening to the rain outside.
  Hot towels out of the dryer.
        Walking out of your last final.
        Finding the sweater you want is on sale for half price.
  Chocolate milkshake.
        A long distance phone call.
    Getting invited to a dance.
    A bubble bath.
    Giggling.
    A good conversation.
    A care package.
    The beach.
        Finding a $20 bill in your coat from last winter.
  Laughing at yourself.
        Midnight phone calls that last for hours.
  Running through sprinklers.
        Laughing for absolutely no reason at all.
  Having someone tell you that you're beautiful.
  Laughing at an inside joke.
        Friends.
    Falling in love for the first time.
    Slumber parties.
        Accidentally overhearing someone say something nice about you.
  Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep.
  Your first kiss.
        Being part of a team.
        Making new friends or spending time with old ones.
  Playing with a new puppy.
        Late night talks with your roommate that keep you from sleeping.
  Having someone play with your hair.
        Sweet dreams.
    Hot chocolate.
    Road trips with friends.
    Swinging on swings.
        Watching a good movie cuddled up on a couch with someone you love.
  Wrapping presents under the Christmas tree while eating cookies and                 drinking eggnog.
        Song lyrics printed inside your new CD so you can sing along without       feeling stupid.
        Going to a really good concert.
        Getting butterflies in your stomach every time you see that one       person.
        Making eye contact with a cute stranger.
  Winning a really competitive game.
        Making chocolate chip cookies!
        Having your friends send you homemade cookies!
  Spending time with close friends!
        Running through the fountains with your friends.
  Riding a bike downhill.
        The feeling after running a few miles-an accomplishment!
  The feeling you get the first time you step on stage.
  Seeing smiles and hearing laughter from your friends...
  Holding hands with someone you care about.
  Wearing your boyfriend's shirt that still smells like his cologne.
  Running into an old friend and realizing that some things (good or                     bad) never change.
        Discovering that love is unconditional and stronger than time.
  Riding the best roller coasters over and over.
  Hugging the person you love.
        Watching the expression someone's face as they open a much-desired           present from you.
        Kisses on your forehead from the first and only boy you have ever           loved.
        Watching the sunrise.
        Getting out of bed every morning and thanking God for another           beautiful day.