One Last Prayer (or Two)

How do you enlist people to pray? Simple: You make them a great offer. For instance, you tell people, “Short prayers are better than long prayers.” Now, that is a great offer. But often, great offers don’t turn out too great. After the Romans were defeated by Hannibal’s army at Cannae (216 BC, but I’m sure you already knew that), Roman army recruiters found it difficult to enlist potential soldiers. Apparently, men were hesitant to join a losing army. And so, the marketing division of the Roman army put their heads together and came up with an innovative plan. They promised any slave who enlisted in the army and then, in battle, brought back the head of an enemy soldier would be granted their freedom.  It was a great incentive, and it worked like a charm. Thousands of slaves joined the cause for a chance at emancipation.  But while the

Praying Your Own Prayer

A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will kill you. Not true. It may sting for a second or two, but it will absolutely not kill you. However, a piano falling all that way is a different story. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made object visible from space. Again, not true. It may be long, but it is neither incredibly high nor wide. The fact is, there are days in Beijing when the pollution is so bad you can’t even see the Great Wall from across the street! It takes a person seven to ten years to digest gum that is swallowed. If you buy that, you will swallow anything because this also is not true. We talk about words going in one ear and out the other; it is the same principle here. But in this case, that other ear … is

A Prayer for Joy

“To err is human, but to arrr is pirate.” This is a story of both of err and arrr.  When Julius Caesar was a young man, he was captured by pirates and held for ransom (it was an err that the arrrs would regret). The pirates, being pirates, were not so bright and set the ransom at 20 talents. Caesar was horrified. How dare these pirates set such a price for his liberation. It most certainly had to be in err. A talent was roughly the equivalent of the salary a laborer could make in nine years. Caesar was beside himself, not because he feared, at that price, he would never be redeemed, but that the ransom was way too low for someone of his rank and status. In fact, the ransom was embarrassing. And so, Caesar demanded that the pirates (arrr) increase his ransom to a more fitting fifty

A Prayer Filled with Reminders of God

Apparently, Alexander the Great wasn’t so great when it came to art.  An ancient historian (Claudius Aelianus) tells the story of Alexander viewing a painting done in his honor. The painting featured Alexander sitting on his favorite horse. It was a bold portrait done by a master named Apelles. And yet, Alexander was not overly impressed. It failed to move him, and he only gave it faint praise. The artist was not pleased. To prove the painting’s realism and value, he brought a horse into the atrium; and when it saw the paining, it neighed, believing that the horse on the canvas was real. “King,” said Apelles, “this horse seems to understand the painting much better than you.” I often feel like I have very little understanding and appreciation of prayer and that most of my prayers are, in reality, just horsing around. There is an art in praying, but

A Prayer with a Request

Milo of Croton was incredibly strong. He was a wrestler by profession and was well-celebrated by his Greek fans for his fearlessness, strength and his acumen in the ring. Outside the ring, however, he was not so bright.  One day in the 6th century BCE, Milo decided to go for a stroll in the forest. He was enjoying the fresh air and the solitude, but then he spotted something that just called his name. It was a tree, tall and strong. But this one was being split. At some point not too long ago, a lumberjack had tried to split the tree while it was still standing (I was taught that, first, you fell the tree, then you split the tree; but this lumberjack was trying to skip a step). But all this logger accomplished was to get his wedges buried deep in the tree. Yes, it was partly split,

Go to Top