Be Careful What You Pray For

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

–Matthew 5:45

Some of you may not know this, but Alabama Governor Bob Riley proclaimed this week “Days of Prayer for Rain” and asked all citizens to pray both individually and in their houses of worship for our drought to end. The predictable peals of derisive laughter came from the usual suspects, but it was business as usual in the Bible Belt.

According to yesterday’s Huntsville Times, it worked! Well, sorta.

I chuckled when I saw the headline and thought of that movie Bruce Almighty in which people prayed for things that they wanted or thought they needed, but the answers to their prayers often had unforeseen consequences. I love good crops and green lawns as much as the next guy, but power outages and car crashes are another matter altogether!

Alabamians pray for rain to start and Texans and Oklahomans pray for it to stop. Men of God in distant lands, on the other hand, apparently see their particular abundance of rain as God’s punishment for disobeying his commands. I might expect this from certain U.S.-based evangelists, but I was a little surprised to read such sentiments from men wearing miters and vestments and carrying shepherd’s staffs.

Rain. Blessing or curse? Well, that depends on who you talk to these days.

I guess you really do have to be careful what you pray for. Or maybe you just pray and hope for the outcome that does the most good and benefits the most people, knowing that a few will fall through the cracks. Or maybe just, “Thy will be done.” There’s an idea!

I don’t know, it’s all very confusing to me. I’m glad I’m just an optometrist.

“Which is better, one or two?”

Now that I can understand.

  1. Terri

    I guess nobody prayed for downtown Cullman. I got nothin’.

  2. Mike the Eyeguy

    Y’all need to pay more attention to the news down there!

    It rained to beat the band here. I went out and stood in it a while, just to see what it felt like. I’m not 100% sure, but it looks like we may even need to mow the lawn this week. What’s left of it, that is.

  3. mmlace

    I dunno, sometimes that “One or two” question confuses me! That’s the only thing I don’t like about going to an eye doctor…sometimes I can’t tell that much difference in a couple of the ‘ones’ and ‘twos.’ I’m like, “Ummm……two…maybe? Is this a trick question???”

    We’ve had rain off and on the past couple of weeks here in central AR, but yesterday afternoon/evening, it rained long and hard. It was nice.

    I’m fairly new to your blog, Mike, I found a link to you off of Keith Brenton’s page. I’m glad I did. I appreciate your thoughts.

  4. Mike the Eyeguy

    And I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment!

    I know the whole one or two interrogation is very stressful. I’ve actually had patients break out into a sweat and occasionally swoon and nearly pass out from the stress of it all.

    Here’s a dirty little secret for the next time you go: Just say they’re the same and it’ll all be over very quickly. Now we don’t want you to say they’re the same if they really aren’t, but if they’re pretty close, then “the same” will do. We have some little tricks to make sure that you don’t mess up too badly.

    Just don’t be like engineers who are the pickiest people on the face of the earth–they’ll keep you there all day if you let them. I’ve even had a few reach around and try to adjust the dials themselves. I smack their hands when they do that.

  5. Jeff Slater

    Have you ever heard comedian Brian Regan’s bit on going to the optometrist? If you haven’t, I’ll e-mail it to you. Funny stuff.

  6. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’m familiar with Bill Cosby’s trifocals skit, but not Regan. Send it on!

  7. Scott

    Is this the same guy that called for the boycotting of Aruba?

  8. Mike the Eyeguy

    It is indeed. And I saw a report the other day on TV that indicated that tourism in Aruba is way down.

    My advice? Do not underestimate the man.

  9. reJoyce

    I’m in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas where we have been having more than enough rain lately. Yesterday we got a leaflet in the mail from the city reminding us that water conservation measures are in effect and we are not to water our lawns, etc. from 10AM to 6PM. We all got a good laugh from that one – we haven’t had to turn the sprinklers on at all so far this year and are having trouble keeping up with the mowing. I’m sure it won’t last, but it seemed especially ironic in light of the flooding and so on we’ve had around here.

    Oh, and my bent in praying for things like rain/no rain tends to go more along the lines of “help us to know how to deal with this rain/no rain” rather than praying to have it stop or start. It makes me uncomfortable to do otherwise.

  10. Double vision

    I’ve found that number one is almost always better than number two.

    Not related but thought you would find this amusing
    I was complaining to Julie this morning–You will get a laugh–I must say several times a week-Can you read the bottom row? At least 3-4 times a week I hear- You mean the very bottom row?

    Mike, why is it in eyecare that bottom does not mean very bottom????

  11. Mike the Eyeguy

    reJoyce–Too funny; you’re government doing what it does best–only a year behind. I like your prayer bent, BTW.

    DV–The bottom line does have a powerful mystique. People are generally shocked when you ask them to read it. I think it hearkens back to that time that Bugs Bunny, when asked to read the bottom line, replied “Made by ACME.” Of course, he ate a lot of carrots.

    Here’s something that I hear several times a week when I ask someone to read the bottom line: TANGO, ZULU, VICTOR, ECHO, CHARLIE, LIMA!

  12. Brady

    If you live there, or you’re concerned about the weather elsewhere, pray about it. But one of my favorite Jewish proverbs is: God doesn’t listen to the prayer of the traveler.

  13. Mike the Eyeguy

    Jeff–Thanks for the link. He’s got it down good.

    Scott–Apparently not this time, but who knows what tomorrow brings?

    Brady–That’s a good one. How many more of those Jewish weather proverbs do you have up your sleeve?

  14. mmlace

    Thanks, Mike, I’ll keep that in mind next time! (Although I’m pretty sure I actually have already told that to him before, when I couldn’t tell a difference!) I’m not an engineer, so no worries there! Although, we accountants can be pretty picky–very detail-oriented, anyway. 😉

  15. Mike the Eyeguy

    I’m married to a CPA. I know.

  16. Keith Brenton

    Mike, when my family and I lived in Abilene for three years (about six years ago), we were in the middle of the worst West Texas drought in years. People of all faiths gathered at a city park one night while their pastors/priests/ministers/imams prayed for rain. One of the Christians prayed: “Lord, we know you send rain on the just and the unjust. Surely we must be one or the other.”

    (Which is also another perspective on the “one or two” question ….)

  17. Mike the Eyeguy

    Oh my, that’s a sweet one Keith–thanks! And it’s so true. And furthermore, we’re usually both at the same time!

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