Friday, June 09, 2006

Jokes in Prayer?

What did the bra say to the hat? You go on ahead, while I give these two a lift. Imagine saying that line in a prayer. I have to admit I hadn’t really ever thought about telling jokes while praying, or even being too light-hearted for that matter, until last night.

I went to a R.S. enrichment night and a girl bore her testimony about prayer. She said she often tells jokes while praying to our Heavenly Father. At first I thought, “That’s a little weird.” But the more I have thought about it, she might actually be on to something.

Prayer for me has always been very serious. I have used prayer to fervently ask for things I think I need and for protection for my family. I have prayed for emotional well-being and spiritual uplifting. I have given thanks for blessings received. I have spoken with my Heavenly Father with deep gratitude and love for Him and His son. Never have I been sarcastic in any way. I guess I thought it a waste of time. Now, I’m not so sure.

In a conference address given by Joseph B. Wirthlin, he said to give thanks for small things like the sound of a loved ones’ voice, or the taste of your favorite food. To me, I would never think to pray for these things. I guess I have always felt they are too inane for prayer. I think though, what this girl was really saying is that, the Lord does care about every aspect of our lives. He loves each of us and wants to listen to us even if what we say may seem trite.

I think we as children of God probably benefit more from prayer than God. Granted, He wants to hear from us and be a part of our lives on earth, I think we need prayer more than He does. After all our primary purpose on earth is to work out our salvation and it is through prayer that we can do this. So, if our lives seem so crazy and stressed, maybe a little laughter with our Father in Heaven is just what we need.

When I was little my Dad was a ward missionary and he would sometimes teach inmates at the county jail. I have never forgotten a story he told my family after one such visit. He said he was in a room full of prisoners and they were taking turns telling why they were there. One prisoner simply said, “I stopped saying my prayers.”

As a child this frightened me. I thought if you stopped saying your prayers you would go to jail, but I have since learned this isn’t the case. I believe prayer is such an integral part of our lives here. I feel differently now about prayer. I think it can be so much more than what I have always done.

One last thought….In 3 Nephi 1:13 Nephi was praying with a heavy heart and the Lord said to him, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer….” So, maybe when we are down, all we need is a little “good cheer”.


At 6/09/2006 03:48:00 PM,

nLinds I really enjoyed your post. It reminded me of one time when I was little and we had a Primary lesson about prayer. Our teacher taught us that Heavenly Father wants us to pray to him about our worries, our fears, our joys, etc. She even encouraged us to tell him a joke. So, I went home from church that day and prayed to Heavenly Father, "Dear Heavenly Father, why did the chicken cross the road? Give up? To get to the other side!" (It was the only joke I knew at that age.) I guess what it taught me was that one of the ways we build a close relationship with our Father in Heaven is through prayer and we need to do it by sharing with him what makes us happy, embarrassed, worried, etc. Just like when you make a good, close friend you share personal things with them that you wouldn't necessarily share with other people. I'm sure Heavenly Father finds joy in sending us peace when we pray to him about our trials but I think he enjoys hearing about our funny and embarrassing moments too.

At 6/09/2006 03:55:00 PM,

Great post! My prayers have always been fairly serious as well. Someone recently suggested, though, that I ought to "talk to" my Heavenly Father about the problems I was encountering in my writing. The words "talk to" really struck me for some reason. I know this is ridiculous, but I guess I never considered prayer in those terms--I never really thought of it as a discussion or a casual conversation. But like the point you made with the jokes, it sure makes it more personal that way (it also makes it so I'm less likely to resort to rote phrases).

It's good to have another female voice on the blog!

At 6/09/2006 04:00:00 PM,

I like the idea, especially when I get into one of those times when you feel like your prayers are getting to be more of a routine than a real discussion with your Heavenly Father, it would bring you back into what you are really doing, talking rather than reciting.

At 6/09/2006 04:50:00 PM,

Thank you for this post, and I have really enjoyed reading the comments up to this point.

"What seem our worst prayers may really be, in God's eyes, our best. Those, I mean, which are least supported by devotional feeling. For these may come from a deeper level than feeling. God sometimes seems to speak to us most intimately when he catches us, as it were, off our guard." - C.S. Lewis

At 6/10/2006 07:56:00 AM,

Awesome post, Lindsay. As a missionary, I really learned the value of "counseling with the Lord." I found that when I talked to him about investigators, or the needs of my companions, or my own personal struggles, I really did feel closer. I feel like I need to recapture that closeness. I always feel so rushed on time, that my prayers have become the same old thing everyday. We make time to talk to family members and friends, I think we should definitely make the effort to ensure enough time to talk to our Heavenly Father in the same way.

Also, that's a great joke. I hadn't heard that one before :)

At 6/11/2006 09:24:00 PM,

Thanks, that was just what I needed to read to give my prayers a boost. I have noticed my prayers lately have been very formal and boring. It becomes something that you do so that you can check it off of your bedtime routine list. I have fallen into a real rut as far as only asking for things. I'm sure He will enjoy hearing from me tonight.




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