God as homework genie

"Oh God! I didn't study enough for this test, but please, just bring the answers to mind; let me get a good mark."

I know it isn't good theology, but I've done it plenty of times.

Take two: "Lord, that paper I wrote is not very inspired. Please let me get a good mark."

Post-submission rewording? That's not going to happen.

Pre-prayer, you say; that's the ticket. You need to pray before/as you write the assignment. But is it any less manipulative to ask God to just make me brilliant?

Wait, before we turn God into a homework genie, let's try out a different set of lenses on this. What am I praying for? What do I hope is going to happen?

Maybe homework prayer is an admission of my need for help. What if it stems not from desperation, but a sense of my smallness within the vastness of the world and possibilities of ideas? Maybe what I'm saying is not "God, drop words into my brain to make me sound smart," but "I am not wise; my vision is shuttered, my understanding limited; open my mind so I might reach beyond my own insight to see more broadly and act more justly"?

Suddenly, this became a whole lot bigger than a simple homework assignment and became a way of living in faithfulness.

May those moments of desperation remind me of how much I have to learn, and how gracious is the great Teacher who coaches us to widen our understanding.


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