Monday, April 30, 2007

Rules for the National Day of Prayer*

Just heard a guy call up Alan Colmes' radio program to say, "Thursday is the National Day of Prayer and I'm going to spend all day praying that you become a born-again Christian."

I didn't hear Colmes' answer because I was too busy saying, "Ah'm uh Krishchun'n yer not, yardy yhar yhar" right before I got out of the car. My initial intelligent thought as I flip-flopped through the grocery store was, "Just tell such assholes to go ahead and pray for whatever the hell they want, it's not going to happen anyway. Besides, if he's spending the whole day on his knees making impossible wishes, at least that will be one less day he's out making complete strangers miserable."

Here are rules I pray people will follow to make it a much more pleasant National Day of Prayer for those, like me, who are insufficiently religious:

1. Don't tell anyone you're praying for them. If you tell them, the miracle won't be a surprise.

2. Don't rub the magic God lamp. Unless you do think God is a genie, in which case pray for more prayers.

3. Don't use prayer as a weapon. I'm not just talking about the appeals for vengeance on one's enemies. Telling someone you're praying that they become a better person is the same as telling someone they're a crappy person. Sanctimonious and rude.

4. Don't let anyone see you praying. Something about hypocrites and street corners.

5. Pray for something useful and constructive, like reducing poverty and illness or for peace, love and understanding.

6. Better yet, don't pray at all. Go out and do something useful and constructive, like reducing poverty and illness or creating peace, love and understanding by not lording your immaculate invocations over the beatifically bereft.

And that's about it. If you do those things, not only will you be a truly punctilious pontificant, you will cease to be a prick, punctilious or otherwise.

Finally, just a piece of advice for those who get told "I'm praying for you," even if it is a presumption. Smile graciously and say "Thank you." With those two words you will have done far more to advance good will and world peace than a million smug supplicators could with a million pseudo-sanctified exhortations.

*Warning: Excessive use of thesaurus. Maybe this should have been at the top of the page.

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