By John Williams, MDiv., ThD
Religion and Spirituality Contributor
Given its popularity coupled with the fact that the world is still a squalid shithole of human misery, it’s clear that the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t do much if anything. Here are some new prayer ideas to break up the monotony and impress the Creator of the Universe.
- Pray Your Way to the Big Leagues
Example prayer: “Help me win my (insert name of sport) game tomorrow (insert date) at (insert time) between (insert team names).”
What separates pro athletes from the rest of us? They’ve learned that praying to the Big Man Upstairs wins ballgames. God can do it for you too if you just have enough faith and take the time to pray.
- Ask Forward Forgiveness
Example prayer: “Please forgive all the sins I am going to commit today.”
Forward forgiveness requests are generally frowned upon in the Church these days. I’m not sure why. Admitting fault up front lays the foundation for proper forgiveness down the road. More importantly, it ensures you won’t accidentally get killed without having a chance to repent, a leading cause of churchgoers getting sent to hell despite believing in the right faith. You could just try to ask forgiveness for everything you are going to do in your whole life, but that seems a bit much in my humble opinion. Just stick to that day’s sins and God will probably be cool with it.
- Be Specific
Example prayer: “I would like one million American dollars.”
So many people pray for positive things in their lives without specifying exactly what it is they want. This confuses God, who is fairly indecisive (see The Flood). Giving Him a specific amount makes His job easier and ensures you’ll get what you want. Also note that the prayer specifies which country’s currency you’re talking about. God is an international deity worshipped in many countries that don’t use the dollar. Of course, God’s a sharp cookie and would probably have assumed you meant America, but you never know.
Example prayer: “Please kill my neighbor (First Name) (Last Name) by the end of the week.”
Once again, note the specificity. It doesn’t request “Oh God do you think maybe you could solve this problem I have with my neighbor?” It demands a specific action with regard to a specific person, notes the person’s relationship to the prayor, and even gives a deadline. As a side note, remember that this sort of death wish prayer doesn’t necessarily have to be regarding your neighbor, but it might help you get God to take notice since it’s not the usual crap like boss, lawyer or ex-girlfriend.
- Be Direct
Example prayer: “Are you the one true God?”
Countless philosophers have spent their lives arguing over the timeless classic of a conundrum above, but how many people have thought to just ask the Big Cheese himself? Probably none. The Man’s a straight shooter from what I’ve read. He should tell you if you ask real nicely and he’s not too busy.
- Request a Vegetarian Alternative
Example prayer: “With regard to taking this Communion, I’m a gluten-free vegetarian.”
This old trick was a favorite with hippie Christians in the sixties. A lot of people don’t know that God is required to provide a vegetarian alternative to human flesh and blood during all transubstantiations. All you have to do is ask.
- Lower Your Tithable Income and Save
This isn’t specifically a prayer hack, but I thought it was worth mentioning because of all the money it’s saved me over the years. Less income on paper can mean more paper in your wallet come tithing time. That’s because if you can lower your tithable income or “TI,” you can lower your bill with God. There are several ways to do this. I set up a non-profit S-corporation that pays for all my housing and other expenses. Any income I make is paid to the corporation and not to me, effectively lowering my tithable income to nothing.
- Learn How to Get Indulgences on the Cheap
Ever since the Council of Trent, God has favored a progressive indulgence system. That is, He takes into account the net worth of the payer of the indulgence when determining the appropriate sum. This means that poorer individuals don’t have to pay as much to get friends and family out of the fiery cauldron of hell. One way to take advantage of this is to move your assets to a trust under someone else’s name and then request the indulgence.
- Make Use of IOUs
Example prayer: “Put it on my tab, Lord.”
This is another little known Church trick. Believe it or not, God accepts IOUs for the collection plate. Just promise to pay later. PRO TIP: Combine this with a forward forgiveness prayer for not paying the IOU to erase your debt entirely.
- Look into Sin Consolidation
Example prayer: “I would like to consolidate forgiveness for the following sins: (list sins).”
You don’t need to pray and ask forgiveness for every little sin you commit. Consolidate your sins and then just pray them all away at once.
- Request Movement of Mountains
Example prayer: “Please move Mount (insert name of mountain here) to the following coordinates (insert longitude and latitude here).”
Cold, hard fact: it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain. If you’re reading this article, chances are your faith is at least the size of a golf ball, maybe even bigger. I’m not sure what use moving a mountain would be to you, but it’s the sort of thing that it’s nice to know you can do if you need to.