The Butthead Prayer
This past weekend, our youth ministry began a series exploring the ins and outs of worship. As a way to ease into the series, our middle schoolers (5th-8th) spent Sunday morning practicing prayer through the acronym PRAY (praise, repent, ask, yourself). The students progressed to different stations where they explored different Scriptures that related to each theme, and then were given space to write out their own prayers to God. As you can expect from middle schoolers, the prayers were unashamedly honest. Of all of them, this one was probably my favorite.
“I pray that someone will realize that being a butthead is not a profession and that they shouldn’t start training now, since they won’t make any money later in life.”
I loved this for a few reasons. The first is that this student must have heard this somewhere, either from their parents, another adult, or maybe even a TV show. I would be very surprised that some kid came up with this on their own, though it is possible. It was a fun reminder of the ways that children can randomly and unexpectedly absorb anything from the world around them. But I also loved this because it was a prayer! I don’t know the situation this student was thinking of, or who it was that was being a butthead, but the student was willing, nay, even bold enough, to take the situation to God and ask that he change things. Who knows if the “alleged person” is actually being a butthead. That’s not really that important. What’s so cool is that this student gave voice to the folly of someone else’s actions, and asked that God would intervene.
What’s even better is this student, unknowingly I assume, is in good company with the witness of Scripture. There are numerous passages in the Psalms and Prophets where the folly of others is described in detail. Their “throats are open graves,” they are “pregnant with mischief,” “filled with venom,” and “estranged from the womb.” In short, they are stupid fools. Compared to how the Scriptures speak of God’s enemies, “butthead” is a pretty mild term.
Now I don’t think this student was aware of what they were doing. I think they might have even been attempting to be funny. Either way, this student, whoever they were, taught me a simple lesson. I do not need to come to God with eloquent words, always pretending to be at peace with everyone around me. Rather, I was reminded that sometimes its okay to come to God and ask him to intervene in the lives of others, especially those who I might find to be buttheads. For when I acknowledge to God the buttheads in my life, I give up the right to control them, to make them who or what I want them to be. And in giving up control, I step into God’s realm, where he can transform my frustration to love, and turn butthead’s into fellow recipients of tremendous grace.