_Have you ever heard the term “mondegreen”?  I hadn’t either until I started doing a little research for this post.  Mondegreen is the term used to describe a word or phrase that is a result of mishearing or misinterpreting something said or sung.  In other words, “hold me closer, Tony Danza” would be a mondegreen of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer.  Or perhaps if you like to “rock and roll all night,” you may also like to do so “part of every day.”  That’s how I roll, anyway.

Don’t be embarrassed.  This happens to all of us at some point.  In fact, Cingular and Volkswagen have made some pretty entertaining commercials based on commonly misheard lyrics.  And honestly, does anybody know all of the words to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody? (If you do, please keep it to yourself.  I feel like revealing the words would ruin the magic.)

This most recently happened to me at church.  It wasn’t during a song, however.  It was during a prayer.  Yeah, that’s probably a little worse…right?  Well, let me explain.

During a prayer, a member of my church family thanked God for His “presence” in her life.  She went on to ask for His “presence” in our service.  All in all, she probably said “presence” four or five times.  However, every times she said it, I heard her say “presents.” 

While I knew what she was saying, I kept picturing God handing down beautifully wrapped boxes with fancy bows.  It reminded me of a little kid at Christmas thanking their parents for gifts, but continuing to ask for more.  I started just to laugh it off, and it hit me that our prayers really do sound like that sometimes. 

In praying to God, some popular topics include: praising God and acknowledging His holiness, giving thanks, asking for forgiveness of sins, asking for healing, asking for guidance, asking for strength for various reasons, asking for needs of others to be met, asking for our needs to be met, asking for our desires to be met, then hopefully taking some time to listen to how He responds.  In Jesus name, Amen. 

I don’t know about you, but I was a bit overwhelmed with the number of times the word “asking” appeared in that paragraph.  I realize that several of the things we ask for are to help us serve and grow closer to God, and that’s awesome.  But we need to pay close attention to how we spend our time during prayers.  The amount of prayer time we give to certain issues may reveal more about our lives than we realize.

If you are spending a lot of time asking for the needs of others to be met, you might want to see if there are additional ways you can contribute to meeting those needs yourself.  If you are praying mostly for forgiveness, you need to seek additional help and accountability to stop the sins that are plaguing you.  If you spend the majority of your prayer time listening to God, you are desperately needed to help others make the best use of their prayer time.  And if you are spending more prayer time on your desires than anything else, you need to stop worrying about “presents” and focus more on the gift of His “presence”.

How do you spend your prayer time?

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