“How did you feel about growing up with a mother who prayed?”
I had just finished speaking to an audience of well-heeled professionals in Greenwich, Connecticut, and when the moderator opened the floor for questions, a woman quickly spoke up. But her question was not directed toward me. It was for my daughter, Virginia.
This was a first. My children rarely (never?) show up at my speaking gigs, but Virginia lives in New York City and had made the trip out. Never one to shy away from an honest question, she jumped up and grabbed hold of the mic.
“I didn’t like it,” she said.
I held my breath. This could go any number of ways.
“For starters,” Virginia said, “Mom was always praying that if we did anything wrong, we’d get caught. And we were always getting caught.
“And,” she continued, “she wanted us to pray all the time. Like, if we were going to the mall, we’d pray about the pants or the dress we had to buy. And we’d ask God for a parking space. Or to give us energy if we were feeling tired.
“It all just felt like … a lot.”
I could feel the crowd tensing up. I knew what they were thinking. They had been tracking with me during my talk (when I’d covered things like asking God to provide self-control in our children, protection for our teens, and help for our older kids as they battled addictions, marriage breakups, and other grown-up issues), but this was new ground.
Shopping trips? Parking places? Energy levels? Were those really the sort of details we should bug God about? Doesn’t he have more important things on his mind?
Happily, Virginia wasn’t quite finished.