When I was about five years old, my father, a Southern Baptist pastor, preached a revival somewhere in southern North Carolina. He is a large man who is able to bellow scripture at the speed of lightening. He can get through to the darkest sinner. He can keep a congregation from falling into the dark gnarly hand of the devil. But he could not save me.

The revival had gone much too late and I was much too young to be expected to sit through it. I still don’t know why I was required to be sitting next to my mother on the front row of the church in my ribbons and curls, but I was. My coloring books had long been filled and I was hungry, tired, and restless.

My father came down front to give the benediction. “Dear Lord”, he said “will you bless this congregation? Dear Lord, will you fill this place now with your presence? And Dear Lord, I ask you to ...” He just went on and on. Well, I decided there was only one way to get everyone out of here in time for lunch and that was for me to submit my own prayer.

I stood on the pew next to my mother. My chin was tight with determination. I turned to address the congregation and God. I took a deep breath and prayed “Dear Lord, will somebody shut this man up!?”

A hand was brought over my mouth within an astoundingly short amount of time and I was dragged out of the sanctuary quicker than you can say “Amen”. Thus ended my first chance to preach at a southern baptist church. I feel that that prayer was received about as well as any prayer I could utter, so I have since then, retired.

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