The Halo Halo! column from the October 2015 issue of the Socialist Standard
You heard, perhaps, about the little boy sitting on his doorstep one Sunday morning crying his eyes out. ‘What’s the matter?’ asked the vicar as he passed on his way to church. ‘I want a bike’ sobbed the little boy, ‘All my friends have got one and I haven’t’. ‘Have you tried praying for a bike?’ asked the vicar. ‘Prayer is a wonderful thing. It can solve all your problems’.
So for the following week the little boy prayed every morning, but the next Sunday when the vicar passed there he was again, still in tears, and still without a bike.
‘You must have faith’ said the vicar, ‘and don’t stop praying. Prayers can solve all your problems’. So the little boy carried on praying every morning and sure enough, a couple of weeks later when the vicar passed, there was the little boy on his doorstep with a big smile on his face, and a beautiful, brand new, shiny red bike.
‘What did I tell you?’ said the vicar. ‘Isn’t prayer a wonderful thing?’ ‘Yes’, said the little boy. ‘You were right. Prayers can solve all your problems’. ‘What happened?’ asked the vicar. ‘Well I prayed really hard every morning’ said the little boy, ‘just like you said, but by Friday I still didn’t have a bike so I went out and stole one. Then I prayed to God to forgive me. And he did’.
Getting a new bike, though, would be a piece of cake for real believers. For the more ambitious there are numerous books available that explain, for a few dollars a go, not only how to make sure God is paying attention when you list your requirements, but how to beat the living daylights out of Satan while you’re at it.
You could start with ‘Discerning the Voice of God’ ($11.69). ‘Do you feel that the ability to hear God’s voice is for other people and not for you?’ asks its author. Don’t worry. With a little practice anyone can get into conversation with the voices in their head.
Or how about, ‘Prayers for Victory in Spiritual Warfare?’ ($10.59) ‘The enemy of your soul has gained the upper hand’, we are told. But again, nothing to worry about. ‘God has given you powerful weapons to help you withstand the onslaught of Satan’s lies’.
And don’t miss ‘Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer’ ($10.05) by Priscilla Shirer who, the advertising blurb assures us, is a ‘Prayer warrior’.
‘You have an enemy’ we are told, ‘and he’s dead set on destroying all you hold dear. This book is your chance to strike back. With prayer. With a weapon that really works. Each chapter will guide you in crafting prayer strategies that hit the enemy where it hurts’.
Blimey, that’s a bit strong. We assume Priscilla the Prayer Warrior’s number one enemy is the devil, but aren’t Prayer Warriors supposed to love their enemies? This makes those Catholic exorcisms that come complete with candles, a crucifix and garlic, look like a picnic in the park. Still, if you can get a new bike out of it . . .