Of printers and prayers

Following the Pob speculation yesterday I feel the need to come back to something vaguely representing normality. I have just realised that my printer is almost out of paper and I have none with which to replenish it. You can’t get much more normal and mundane than that! The printer in my study is networked to the different computers at home and so has to cope with demands for printed output from a number of sources. It’s quite clever really (thankfully it set itself up while I followed the instructions) and means we only need one printer for the family.

For any of you still reading and not having given up because of the banality of the previous paragraph, here’s some more. As I put the last few sheets of paper into the printer I thought to myself, “I must go and get some more paper tomorrow.” That was yesterday. So far today I have not remembered to buy paper when I have been anywhere near a paper-selling emporium.

I am aware that I often have good intentions – I must phone so and so, I need to visit X (X representing a person, not where the spot is marked), I ought to do such and such… But translating those intentions into reality is sometimes even less successful than my printer paper replenishment processes. One of my greatest failures to translate good intentions into reality is in the area of praying for people. I say that I will pray for someone and then (to my shame) forget or do not pray as often as I should.

My solution is to associate different places and objects with different people. When I am driving around the town I try to remember who lives where and offer a prayer for them as I drive past their house or near their road. (I don’t close my eyes as I pray at those times!) I try to remember people’s occupations and offer a prayer for them when I see someone in that occupation or a business similar to where they work. Or I might see an object that I associate with someone’s needs and that reminds me to pray for them.

I do have lists on my desk that I use to remind me to pray for people as well, while I am quietly reflecting and praying, but I have found that it is best when God prompts me about people to pray for them there and then rather than wait until a special time later. That has the added benefits of punctuating my day with prayer and keeping my relationship with God more vibrant.

Prayer-related jokes:
They have Dial-a-Prayer for atheists now.
You call up and it rings and rings but nobody answers.

A 4-year-old boy who was asked to say a prayer of thanks before Christmas dinner.
The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer, thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mummy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food.

He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the roast potatoes, the peas, the carrots, the parsnips, the sausages, the bread sauce, the gravy, the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, the Christmas Pudding, the custard and even the cream.

Then he paused, and everyone waited

and waited.

After a long silence, the lad looked up at his mother and asked,
“If I thank God for the brussels sprouts, won’t he know that I’m lying?

A young boy called me recently to ask me to come by to pray for his mother who had been very ill with the flu.

I knew the family and was aware they go to another church in Colchester. I asked him, “Shouldn’t you be asking your own Minister to come by to pray with your mum?”

“I suppose so,” the boy admitted. “But we didn’t want to take the risk that he might catch whatever Mum has got.”

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