If we could be completely honest with God, would our prayers sound something like this?
Lord, here’s what we need today, right away, or as soon as we can get it: we need world peace, prosperity, security, life without risk, pleasure without pain, happiness without cost, and discipleship with no cross. That’s why we’re here, at church, to get our needs met. Our church tries to be user-friendly and seeker sensitive. That’s why on Sundays we serve espresso with a dash of amaretto before our services, a little caffeine boost until we get to the main point of our worship: the prayer requests. So like we were saying, we need a quick recovery from gall bladder surgery, an effortless cataract removal, a happy marriage, obedient and chaste kids, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. If you love us, you’ll meet our needs.
Now then, is there something that we could do for you?
You’re thirsty? Well, if you’re the Messiah, why don’t you fix yourself a divine drink? We’ve got needs of our own, thank you. It’s our job to have need; it’s your job to meet need.
For this and all other needs, spoken and unspoken, felt and unfelt, incipient and obvious, personal and corporate, immediate and long term, we pray. Amen.†
† William Willimon, Thank God It’s Friday (Nashville: Abingdon, 2006), 60.