Tag Archives: Grace Challenge

Mis-Spoken Prayer

I originally posted this back in March, thought it was worth moving to the top of the blog for

Grace Challenge Day 10

My Dad is a Russian immigrant and English is not his first language.  He prays at all our family functions.  We often make fun of the mistakes that he makes in speaking. For instance,  he (as many people who have English as a second language might do) struggles with the gerund and distinguishing it from a participle.  I love that many of you  English as a first language people are scrambling to Google right now. He often says “take care-ving (taking care) of us.”  Here are some examples of what we are now dubbing “Moisi-ism’s” (His name is Moisi):

  • Celkular phone
  • Macadonian macaronis instead of macadamian macaroons…
  • The fire department checking the hydrogens
  • They got their bookshelf at the stapler instead of staples
  • He cussing us out…
  • Pie Alamo for Pie ala mode…
  • Crackpots for crockpots…
  • They lived till they died….

Recently, I had one of those aha moments during one of his “mis-statements” in prayer.  He meant to say: “I thank you God for all that you do for us” but instead it came out “I thank you God for all that you do to us”.

I was shocked out of my “arrogant-child-internally-begging- my-father-to-not-go-on-too-long-in-prayer-while- deciphering-his-every-English-language-mistake” mindset into a Holy Spirit moment.  God does stuff TO us.  He doesn’t exist to do favors for us, rather he often just sticks stuff to us.  And that is when it hit me.  I was not seeing or speaking correctly in my prayers with regard to the activity of God in my life.

Most of the time this perspective is helpful with regard to difficult stuff God does to us.  The personal problem of evil stuff like why did he let my dad abuse me, or my wife cheat on me, or my child have some incurable disease. Even the lesser evils like my car breaking down.  Mostly in my past I would “protect” God and say that he “allowed” these things. The obvious question is if He “allowed” it, why didn’t He just stop it from happening? and what is the difference between allowing and doing for God?  I find it more helpful now to say that God did it to me.  Here is why.

I trust God (so I say).  He is in control.  I trust God for the future (all things work together for good), so shouldn’t I trust Him for the past (in all things give Thanks)?  In trusting God for the past and to get to thanksgiving, it is better to use “to” than “for”.  “For” implies that I am only thankful for the things that seem to me to be beneficial.  But that is not what I have trouble thanking God for.  I have trouble thanking God for the things that don’t seem beneficial, the suffering.  The phrasing forces me to embrace the suffering of the past as truly a part of God’s hand in my life. When I am able to embrace the suffering of the past as from God I am empowered to move beyond it to the good that is intended through the suffering.

I thank you God for all that you do TO me.

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