• Knowing that yawns are infectious, a group of Quaker girls once played a joke at meetings while at school. Whenever a person of authority — a teacher, an elder, a minister, an overseer — looked at them, one or more of them would yawn. Then they watched with delight as the yawn passed from one person of authority to another. The girls felt that there was nothing wrong with this game, as they played it only when a meeting went past its normal closing time.
• Thomas Aquinas was a huge man, both physically and mentally. Once a brother monk decided to play a joke on him. The monk looked out a window and said, “Come quickly — look at the cow flying.” Aquinas jumped up and looked out the window — and saw nothing, of course. The monk began to laugh, but Aquinas told him, “I thought it more likely that a cow should fly than that a monk would lie.”
• Some gurus are also rascals. One rascal guru got great amusement from his more gullible students — if any of them asked how he had become so wise, he used to tell them that he was thousands of years old. One especially gullible student believed this and said, “It’s amazing how human you are.” The rascal guru replied, “After a thousand years or so, you go native.”
• Rabbi Eliezer understood the proper length of a prayer. A man once prayed for a long time, and some people complained, “What a prayer elaborator this man is!” But Rabbi Eliezer replied, “Has he really prayed longer than Master Moses, of whom Deuteronomy 9:25 reports that he once prayed for 40 days and 40 nights?” Then another person prayed for a very short time. This time, some people complained, “What a prayer abbreviator this man is!” But Rabbi Eliezer replied, “Has he really offered a shorter prayer than our Master Moses, of whom Numbers 12:13 reports that he once offered a prayer of only five words, ‘O God, pray heal her’?”
• Christian author Judy Esway was feeling very discouraged, and she prayed, saying that she wished Jesus would walk into her living room, sit down in the striped chair, and say to her, “Judy, why don’t you come over here and sit on my lap and tell me all your problems?” Just then, her husband walked into the living room, sat down in the striped chair, and said to her, “Judy, why don’t you come over here and sit on my lap and tell me all your problems?” Ms. Esway writes, “Thank you for answering my prayer, God. And thank you for my husband, who follows the prompting of your Holy Spirit.”
• During family prayers, some friends of country comedian Jerry Clower took turns praying. When it was the four-year-old’s turn to pray, he started praying for Mr. Clower’s family. He said, “Dear Lord, God bless Mr. Clower, God bless Ray, God bless Amy, God bless Sue, and God bless ….” Here he couldn’t think of the name of Mr. Clower’s wife, so he started all over again — and still couldn’t remember her name. He tried to say the prayer a third time, but even then he couldn’t remember her name, so he finished the prayer with, “Lord, please bless that woman what lives with Mr. Clower.”
• Just before performing on the balance beam during the individual apparatus competition at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, gymnast Shannon Miller said this prayer: “God, I’m in your hands. I’m going to do the very best I can. I know I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t supposed to be — if I wasn’t capable of doing this.” She did her very best on the balance beam — and she won her second gold medal of the games.
• In Eastern Europe, many Jewish prayers showed a familiarity with God: 1) “Dear God, you help complete strangers — so why not us?” 2) “Lord in Heaven, blessed be Thy Name, we know You love the poor — so why do You help the rich?” 3) “Dear God, all we ask of You is a bit of bread to stave off our hunger and some rags to keep out the cold — the whiskey we’ll buy ourselves.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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