The setting was Mt. Lebanon Christian Camp in Dallas, Texas. I had been part-time children’s minister at First Baptist Church, Cedar Hill for about six months and had taken my first group of kids to camp. I was so excited and was thrilled to see how they would grow and learn.
Each night while at camp, I led a devotion and prayer time with our kids.
Of course, any of you who have ever asked kids for their prayer requests know the experience can be a little like opening a can of worms. This occasion was no different.
One of the youngest little boys shared his prayer request and it went a little bit like this:
I want to pray for my dog because sometimes at night he gets out and he runs away. He likes to run down the road and sometimes he gets hit by cars. We need to pray that he will stay in and not get out and get hit by a car because sometimes he gets out and sometimes he gets hit by a car. I am worried about him because he will get out so we need to pray that he will stay in.
I was like, “Whoa!” That’s a lot of prayer request for a little dog. And I certainly understood his concern. People love their pets. But then, he finished up with this:
Please pray he won’t get out because the last time he got out he got hit by a car … and he died.
Wow! I had shown great concern for his prayer request and then he culminates it by telling me the dog was already dead.
So, I bet you are wondering where the fail was, right?
Remember that I was 23 at the time and very new to children’s ministry. I had listened carefully to his prayer request, I guess a little too seriously because when he told me his dog had died, I just lost it. I cracked up. I laughed so hard–so hard someone else had to come and pray!
I told you it was bad! I won’t ever forget that moment. I do want to let you know that I followed up with the kid and told him I was sorry for being disrespectful and that I would pray for –you guessed it– his NEW dog.
What’s your prayer request fail? Come on now, I know you have one!