Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

My Friend Jon was reading Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” and last week sent me the following passage with a suggestion that I post it on the blog and ask, “So, who agrees with Huck?” I thought Jon made a good suggestion. Here it is…

“Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing
come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I
would get it. But it warn’t so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line,
but no hooks. It warn’t any good to me without hooks. I tried for the
hooks three or four times, but somehow I couldn’t make it work. By and
by, one day, I asked Miss Watson to try for me, but she said I was a
fool. She never told me why, and I couldn’t make it out no way.

I set down one time back in the woods, and had a long think about it.
I says to myself, if a body can get anything they pray for, why don’t
Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on pork? Why can’t the widow
get back her silver snuffbox that was stole? Why can’t Miss Watson fat
up? No, says I to my self, there ain’t nothing in it. I went and told
the widow about it, and she said the thing a body could get by praying
for it was “spiritual gifts.” This was too many for me, but she told
me what she meant–I must help other people, and do everything I could
for other people, and look out for them all the time, and never think
about myself. This was including Miss Watson, as I took it. I went out
in the woods and turned it over in my mind a long time, but I couldn’t
see no advantage about it–except for the other people; so at last I
reckoned I wouldn’t worry about it any more, but just let it go.”

So, do you agree with Huck – and Mark Twain? Does prayer “work?” – or more specifically, does God work through prayer? Maybe you have stories that indicate “yes.” Maybe you have stories that indicate “no. Let’s air it out!

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