Speaking of the Magic Eight Ball… Let's Pray!

When I was a kid, we prayed for everything. Big test? Pray! (Possible priesthood blessing, too.) Fight with friends? Pray! Lost a dollar bill you were gonna buy candy with at the local convenience store? Pray! (I don’t remember actually hearing that one preached from the pulpit, but it worked! Immediately after the prayer, I stuck my hand in my coat pocket and found the dollar! And then bought those candy cigarettes. God was good. Word of Wisdom be damned. Am I dating myself? They weren’t REAL cigarettes, for pete’s sake!)

Anyway, by God, my sisters and I were good pray-ers. My brother wasn’t bad, either, although a bit of a grandstander. You know, always had to throw something in to top the last prayer. The only problem was, we had a rote prayer, and it was pretty hard to deviate from it. But at least one sentence needed to be unique. Totally you. Unless it was Fast Sunday and we were really hungry, and wanting to get that prayer over with so we could finally eat.

“Heavenly father, we thank you for this day. We thank you for all our many blessings. Please bless mom and dad, and the neighbors, and the man down the street. nameofjesuschristamen.”

Now, if the prayer was over FOOD, it was slightly different.

“Heavenly father, we thank you for this food, and we ask you to bless it, that it may nourish and strengthen our bodies. And I want a bike for Christmas. nameofjesuschristamen.”

It didn’t really take that much concentration. In fact, I think we memorized one stock prayer and just sort of improvised from there on out. But when we were praying, you HAD to pay attention. Sorta.

So one day, during Sunday dinner, it was my sister Brenda’s turn to pray. And she started the prayer, but the phone rang. Still, she continued on, and finished the prayer, because the rote prayer (as you can read above) is not really all that long, and back then there weren’t answering machines, and the phone would just ring and ring until the caller gave up. If it was my Aunt Maxine calling, there would be no giving up. That phone would ring all night, and into the next day. Aunt Maxine was so stubborn it might even ring for a week. And when she died, the phone clutched in her hands, weak from lack of food and water, I know she would have said, “I was trying to call you. Why didn’t you pick up?”

Anyway, when Brenda finished, she jumped up and grabbed the phone, and said, “Heavenly Father?”

I don’t remember who was on the other end of the line. But for just a moment, that person was a GOD. There’s just no feeling like it.


About Natalie R. Collins

Natalie has more than 30 years writing, editing, proofreading and design experience. She has written 20 books (and counting), has worked for the Sundance Film Festival, and as an investigative journalist, editor, and proofreader. She embraces her gypsy-heart and is following her new free-thinking journey through life. Follow her as she starts over and learns a bunch of life's lessons--some the hard way.
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8 Responses to Speaking of the Magic Eight Ball… Let's Pray!

  1. Cele says:

    Great story, I take it your sister doesn’t expect God to call it in these days. 🙂


  2. Sonya says:

    LOL, LOL! Your blog never fails to make me laugh. Love your wit and writing style. I’m glad you’re speaking out against a cult. One down, a zillion to go.


  3. Thanks, Sonya! Glad you visit.

    Cele, I’m not sure if she expects God to call these days, but I know a few people who would be VERY interested in having a little convo with Him.


  4. Howy says:

    Him?! Wow, then you admit that is a God is a male. That would ‘splain why he’s at all those professional ball games. He must have been married once and wanted to share the grief. Hey . . .

    Dear God,
    I want my rib back, my money, houses, dignity, self esteem, cars and all that friggin’ time.


  5. Howy says:

    Damn typos . . . “Wow, then you admit that God is a male.” . . . worth repeating anyway.


  6. That’s too funny. We had and have the same exact prayers you’ve listed above. I wonder why we bother with them anymore??


  7. Will says:

    Hehe, I have heard that exact prayer at just about every dinner i ever sat down to with my mormon X-Girlfriends… I thought it was just Mormon standard to use it lol. Then again since i can remeber my family always went with the sure fire, “God is Good, God is Great, Let us thank him for this food… Amen.” Usually spoken so fast all you hear is “God Amen”. What can i say my family likes to try an optimze dinner?


  8. Trixie says:

    Haha, reminds me of the scene in Dead Poets’ Society.

    I remember those candy cigarettes. The best part about them was that if you put them in your mouth and blew air between the wrapper and the candy it formed a white puff of fine powedered sugar to looked like you were actually smoking 🙂


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