I’M MORE SIMPLE-MINDED than even I realized.
It hit me on Sunday, during our Bible study at church.
We’ve been in a series on the topic of prayer and the inevitable question came up:
“What difference does it make? God already knows what’s going to happen.”
One gent in class said that prayer doesn’t change God’s mind. It changes us.
Bible experts often say the same thing, with longer words. They say we change, and so God’s plans for us change accordingly.
What if they’re wrong?
What if prayer does change God?
As I sat there listening to the discussion, my simple mind drifted back home to Buddy the Dog, waiting in the kennel for my wife and me to get back from church. He’s a black Labrador retriever. Friendly. Loud talker. Wet licker.
I thought about how he asks me for things.
He’s an excellent communicator, for someone who’s bark registers on my dictation software only as “All. All. All, all.”
As though he wants everything.
I’ll be working at my desk, with my hands on the keyboard or the mouse.
He’ll lay his chin on my right forearm. I’m right-handed.
Can’t work a mouse without it. And I can’t move it very gracefully when it’s anchored by a dog.
I look down at Buddy.
He’s looking up at me. Big eyes. Hungry eyes.
Hungry for a snack or a scratching or ball tossing or a tug of war.
Nothing too tough for me.
Usually, I can’t resist him.
I work in a home office on the second floor. Sometimes, when Buddy needs to do a little business of his own, he stands by the door downstairs and barks one loud note. It means, “Come. Open the door. I’m kind of in a hurry.”
I respond quickly. I know for whom the bark tolls.
There are other times when Buddy doesn’t want anything but to sit beside me on the staircase. I walk out there with him, thinking he’s leading me downstairs for a treat or something. But he stops short at the top of the stairs. Instead, he sits there on his hind legs, looking stately.
I sit beside him, at face level. I can look him right in the eyes. But he looks straight ahead, out the window on the landing. So I look out the window with him.
That’s when he does it.
He turns toward me and starts licking the side of my face. And my ear. And the back of my neck.
Our vet calls those kisses.
He’s just a dog. But sometimes he melts my heart.
If a dog can do that to me, I wonder if I can do that to God.
Maybe, just maybe, prayer does something to God.
I don’t know that it does. But I wonder if it does.