I pray the lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord....
Ok, hold up. Just one dang minute here! I being the tender age of six or so, and having been chased off to bed by my mother telling me, "Don't forget to say your damned prayers, either! You don't want to go to hell do you?"
It was pretty much a given that, no, I did not want to go to hell. From everything I heard about it, the place seemed pretty hot, what with a lake of fire and all, and my sister said there was not much to do except shovel coal, and I imagined there would probably be alot of mean folks just waiting for the chance to give me a good slapping. So, its safe to say, hell was not my destination of choice. I said my prayers dutifully. I always faltered when I got to that part, "if I should die before I wake". Suddenly, I was consumed with all sorts of terrors, to go along with all the other terrors that populated my night time world. Along with my mother's nightly rounds through the house, and discussions and screaming matches with people who weren't there, now I had to wonder whether I could die sometime in the night while I was asleep, and not even know it. How in the world could I stop this from happening. I didn't want to die. A little sleep was all I wanted. A few nice dreams would have been a bonus. Should I just stay awake and make sure I kept breathing?
Today, I wonder who in the world wrote that prayer for little children! It does end nicely, I suppose, with, "I pray the lord my soul to take", because most children, well, at least of my generation, weren't laying in bed hoping against hope that if they died, please oh please, let the devil take me! Please! That's usually what our Grandma's told us. I really have to say that now that I am an adult, I think that the person who wrote that seemingly sweet little prayer was in fact a demented sadist, who disliked children immensely. Maybe he had a bunch of the little buggers of his own, I don't know, but those words, "if I should die before I wake" caused me more than one sleepless night.
And, now, to change gears, so to speak, a little something a friend sent me that I would like to share with you.
KIDS IN CHURCH
- "Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community."
- "Don't let worry kill you -- let the church help."
- "For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs."
- "The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan B----r, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius B----r."
- "This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends."
- "Life groups meet on Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM for food, fun, and fellowwhipping."
- "The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals."
- The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."
"Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones."
- "The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon."
With even greater emphasis, he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."
And then, finally, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river." He sat down.
The song leader then stood very cautiously and announced with a nervous glance toward the preacher, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365: