Last night, my 7-year-old yelled something from her bed that I’ve never heard before.
Her favorite thing to say is “I can’t fall asleep,” approximately 19 seconds after we’ve put her to bed. She also likes the classics, “I need a drink,” “it’s too dark in here,” and “it’s too bright in here.” I have no proof of this, but I think some nights she just tries to break her own personal record for number of times my wife and I will come up to hear her case. Last night’s statement, was a new one though. Here’s what went down:
L.E. yells down, “Mom, I need you.”
Me, expecting the water trick: “What do you need L.E.?”
L.E.: “I can’t stop thinking that my American Girl Dolls are going to come alive.”
She didn’t yell that in a “Wouldn’t that be awesome if they came alive like Pinocchio?” kind of way. It was more in a “I can’t stop thinking that my American Girl Dolls are going to come alive and eat me,” kind of way.
That, is at last, a legit concern.
If you’re not familiar with the American Girl Doll, and I wasn’t until the purchase of said doll threatened to bankrupt our family, they come in two varieties, “Historical,” and “So 3000 and 8.” Those are not the official terms, but you get the point. The historical ones are from different periods in time, which is the route our family chose.
The dolls are great, but every now and then, the American Girl Doll company will decide to “Archive” one of the historical girls, or as I like to say, “murder her.” This isn’t like the Disney Vault, where they put a movie in and then bring it back out years later. Once you’re archived, it’s over. It’s like an American Girl Doll mob hit. You no longer cease to exist. You’ve been removed from the Matrix.
I think L.E. is nervous because she’s sleeping next to Kirsten, a blonde haired Swedish doll who met an unfortunate end a few years ago when she got too “mouthy” around the American Girl Doll factory. (Again, conjecture on my part.) L.E. is worried that Kirsten will come alive, becoming an American Girl Doll Zombie if you will, and ask her, “Why did you let them get me L.E.? Why did you let them archive me? Socks, socks!” (I have to imagine an American Girl Doll Zombie would be too polite to eat brains, but would have no problem eating your frilly pink socks.)
So L.E. yelled out “I can’t stop thinking that my American Girl Dolls are going to come alive.” Which although funny, was not the funniest thing she said last night. My personal favorite happened at dinner and it’s something I think has probably happened to some of you too.
While I was praying over dinner, I mentioned being thankful that L.E. enjoyed the playground that day. I’m not sure if you know this, but for kids, the playground is like a Mixed Martial Arts Octagon. Was Janet mean to you? Did some punk first grade boy try to kiss you on the cheek? Did you fall in a big puddle? The risks are endless.
So one of the things I prayed was, “Lord, thank you that L.E. had such a great day on the playground.” In the middle of the prayer, L.E. leaned over to me and immediately said, “We didn’t go on the playground, it was raining. We stayed inside.”
She edited me, mid prayer.
I messed up the details, and she rectified that, mid prayer.
At first I wanted to say, “Only kids would do that. They say the darnedest things!” But the more I thought about that, the more I realized I’ve seen that happen amongst adults and I’ve personally wanted to do it. Why? Three reasons:
1. A “just grenade” just went off.
I’ve mentioned before that our favorite word when we pray is “just.” We say things like “Lord, just hear us, just guide our steps, just lead us. Just, just, just.” Sometimes I just want to just edit out some justs.
2. The person praying didn’t listen to the prayer requests.
This happens sometimes. The person closing the prayer didn’t listen to the requests people really made. We talked about this in the Stuff Christians Like book. If they refuse to put the onus for remembering the details on God, “Lord, you know all our requests,” and instead try to wing it, jumbling all the details, I feel like editing. Martha’s having foot surgery, not Martin is trying out for a football team. There is a critical difference between those two.
3. The person praying is using prayer as a way to call out someone in the room.
When you pray, “Lord, help us surround your followers, who have ginger colored beards and who make bad financial decisions and buy houses they can’t afford in subdivisions that are named after rivers,” we know who you’re talking about. If you’re legitimately going to ask for public prayer for that person, edit out some of the defining details.
Most times, without juking myself, I try to withhold the desire to edit. I don’t want to be a jerk, analyzing worship and prayer and other moments that are bigger than me. Unless you tell me you’re worried about Martin’s NFL tryout. I might have to step in at that moment.
Have you ever seen someone edit a prayer? Have you ever felt like doing that?