Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

Topeka? I’ve been to Topeka. It’s dusty and flat and on any given day either too hot or too cold. People from Topeka claim it’s a great place to live; but they admit it’s not much to visit. Here’s to Topeka… On the flip side, I’ve also been to Mountain View, California. I grew up just 25 miles from there, over the coastal mountains in Santa Cruz. Mountain View was not then but is now the headquarters for Google, the little American upstart that is redefining education and economics, striking terror in Bill Gates, and plotting to overthrow the Chinese regime. Believe me: Topeka is no Google…

But Google isn’t Topeka either. No fooling… A while back Topeka ran a gimmick, a kind of “fools errand.” They changed their name to “Google, Kansas” in an attempt to garner attention to become a test site for the search giant’s new ultra-fast broadband service. This morning (April 1), Google played turnabout and changed its name to “Topeka.” “Google” Google and up comes Kansas. Google Kansas and you’ll get Google… It seems the virtual behemoth is offering a playful nod to the city on the Plains, though likely not the “yellow brick road” to prosperity they are hoping for. April Fools, Topeka… Google!

Here’s a prayer for the dear folks in Topeka. Quite serious actually… Join me, won’t you…

“God, no joking here. Not that you couldn’t take it. There’s a sense of humor in your own soul, that much is clear. You’ve played around a bit yourself over the course of eternity. We catch a childlike, adventurous streak in you, a love for surprises, and a propensity to juxtapose. The more we learn about the intricacies of your creation, like the mysteries the physicists in Europe are unraveling at this moment by smashing little particles together to try to recreate pictures of the Big Bang, the less we really know about you. We can study photos from the Hubble Telescope and stand in awe; we can watch day-old ducklings scampering across the top of a pond and laugh until our sides ache. And you are behind it all! No fooling! God, today we offer a prayer for the dear citizens of Topeka, Kansas. Bless them as they are for who they are: no nonsense, hardworking, decent, and a bit imaginative. Help them re-up the unique destiny you have given them. There’s a pioneering, frontier spirit about Topeka. Give them a new vista, a new wilderness to conquer. Bring them a new sense of destiny. Most of all, visit Topeka yourself. They don’t need a gimmick; they need you. May Topeka become a new center for search… not the search for stuff, but the search for you, God. May Topeka become a “search engine” for the ways and wonders and beauty and grace and truth of the Living God! May Topeka search, and find Jesus!”

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