Prayer, Plain and Simple

It’s Father’s Day. Bittersweet. My father died a little over two years ago. I miss him. I miss him today. But his absence has given me more appreciation for the gifts he gave me. My father was a great man. Dennis Prager says, “The famous are rarely significant; the significant are rarely famous.” So true of my father.

My father gave me many things: my love for baseball, my love of homemade ice cream, my love of nature, my curiosity about people. But his greatest gift to me was a desire for and a deeply embedded trust in God. My father taught me to pray. Here’s a story from my book, “The Karma of Jesus” relaying one way that connecting to my father helped connect me to my Father-God.

How does trust in God come? How had I learned that a Personal God did not have to terrify me?

The dense smell of fresh blood filled my memory. I was almost four years-old, the age I started shaving with my father and I stood in a garage watching my father and his friends butcher and wrap the fresh venison they had just harvested. I remember it like yesterday.

Ten days before my father had gone deer hunting in Utah. All week the weather had been hot and the hunting poor. After six days not one member of the hunting party had even seen a deer.  The last day my father traveled to town and phoned my mother to tell her he would be starting home the following afternoon. She then informed him that I had prayed that he would come home with two bucks. He chuckled, and told her to prepare me for disappointment.

But the next morning a cold front blew down from the Cascade Mountains to the west. While shivering atop a ridge covered with sage and juniper my father spotted a large buck. He pulled up his 30-06 and shot. 30 seconds later a second bounded through the brush… Two more shots. Two bucks felled.

As a child I accepted the connection: I prayed; something happened. God heard. God changed things. I mattered.

Too good to be true? Too simple? Not if everything is personal, not if the Person behind the Personal keeps his word. Today the antlers of those two deer hang in the office where I am writing the words of this chapter on them hang the basis of my entire life.

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