Saturday, November 21, 2009

21 NOV 09: Bend Those Knees

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find the following item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath.)

Before I could get out of bed, the trash-talking was underway. "I know you were nervous," my next-door neighbor yelled to employees of a next-door business. And this comment came weeks before a soldier claimed he assaulted less than one block from my house....

It was the Monday morning after Alabama's narrow escape over Tennessee in college football. My next-door neighbor likes to wear Georgia clothing, so he let the Alabama fans next door know he was unimpressed. If those workers reminded my neighbor of Tennessee's big win over Georgia two weeks before, I couldn't hear it.

But then my next-door neighbor declared: "Your knees had to hurt - you were praying so hard." That one admittedly made me laugh in my bed. I wanted to open the window and tell my neighbor, "Good line, bad timing."

A funny one-liner? Yes, it was -- but hold on a minute. What's wrong with getting on your knees and praying? I did it a short time later, to officially begin my day. Admittedly, I never pray about the outcome of football games - but then, I also don't bet money on the outcomes.

With Thanksgiving Day approaching, we ought to be focusing on more than a big dinner. We even should focus on something bigger than family members who might come to visit. There's no better time to get on your knees and thank God for the blessings you have. For a dinner, for your family -- and OK, maybe a TV set to watch football instead of the final score.

Luke 18 in the Bible begins with a parable of Jesus - a parable with a purpose: "....that men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Admittedly, I've mixed these two from time to time. I didn't mean to do it, really. But kneel by your bed for a last prayer of the evening, and you might wind up asleep with no circulation in your legs.

If praying is new to you, the middle of Matthew 6 has a "prayer guide" spoken personally by Jesus. But don't overlook the verse before it warning: "....use not vain repetitions." I've heard emotional radio preachers insert "praise the Lord" all over their messages - even after they mention people robbing each other in big cities.

If you feel a need to make a "thank-you" list before praying to God, that's OK. It's a good idea to stop and count your blessings. It beats ad-libbing your thanks at the Thanksgiving table, while holding a large carving knife in your hand. Unless you're offering a sacrifice to God, that simply doesn't look right.

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