Modern Parables about Prayer © 2008 by Jim Found
1. The right words. Imagine a young boy walking along a sidewalk on a hot summer day. He stops in front of an ice cream store, but can only look in the window and drool, since he has no money. Then he gets an idea. Grabbing the sleeve of a passing stranger, he appeals, “Mister, could you buy me an ice cream cone?” After being rebuffed by several passers by, he gets another idea. When he goes up to the next person, he grabs his sleeve, kneels before him, and says, “Dearest Sir, wouldest thou, I beseech thee, buyest me an ice cream cone?”Is this man more likely to be responsive because the boy used fancy words?
2. Relationship not technique. Having been rebuffed again, the boy is about to give up, when he sees one more man approaching. Filled with expectation, he grabs the man by the sleeve and says, “Hi dad. Could I have an ice cream cone?” What are the chances that this man’s response will be different than the others?
3. Father knows best. His father smiles down at him and says, “Son, I would be happy to buy you an ice cream cone. But look at the time: it is almost noon. Your mom would be disappointed if I bought you one right now.” The boy considers this turn of events, then turns to his father with great seriousness. “Dad, I’m really sorry to tell you this. I hope you won’t be terribly disappointed, but — you don’t exist.” Are there people who take a “no” prayer answer as proof that God does not exist? What does the father’s response tell you about why God sometimes says “no” to our requests?
4. Discipline. After getting home, the dad says to his wife, “Honey, I got an email this morning that says men ought to make it a point to talk to their wives at least five minutes per day. It’s going to be a sacrifice to find the time to do this, but I am committed to giving it a shot. I think the discipline would be good for me. Are you impressed?” Do you think she is impressed? What do you think she would rather have heard him say?
5. Showing Love. The wife now answers her husband, “Dear, I am so glad that you want to talk with me. I have been waiting for this day through all the years of our marriage. I will treasure those five minutes. I just don’t want you to feel that it has to be limited to those five minutes. I am always here for you. Whatever is on your mind, I would love to sit and talk with you about it. That’s because I love you.” The husband replies, “I love you too, honey.” The wife continues, “Speaking of love, I just want to lovingly remind you about the garbage — remember you said you were going to take it out?” “Can’t we just talk about stuff — I would rather develop my relationship to you in that way.” According to 1 John 5:2-3, how does one show a love relationship with God?