The other day my family sat down to supper. My 4-year-old son, John Curtis, sat down with a scowl on his face. He had missed his nap and his fuse was now short. We asked him if he would like to offer the blessing to which he simply stuck out his lip and grunted. We turned to our 6-year-old, daughter Sophie, who obliged. "Dear God, thank for this day. Thank you for our food. Help my brother John Curtis not be so grumpy. Amen."
Immediately, John Curtis, cut her a look that could kill and blurted out, "Hmpff! Your prayer didn't work!"
Thoughts on using this illustration: What does it mean to pray for other people? Do we ever use prayer just to stick it to someone? I think about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Can our prayers sometimes do more harm than good if voiced out loud in front of the others for whom we are praying? What does it mean to pray for another person's actions, attitudes, etc. in light of the fact that they have free will?