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“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” Kierkegaard

The commonly held idea is that if you pray for something, asking in the name of Jesus, it will be granted. From football players and their fans to children on Christmas eve, the prayers fly thick and fast. And all are disappointed if the human side of the equation (skill, parental permissiveness, space for a pony) are not up to the task at hand.

These are things within our control.

I was about 6 when my teeth began to fall out, making that big step to the adult model. There was much hoopla around the first one, of course, and one of the more prominent embodiments of generosity in a child’s life, the Tooth Fairy, made an appearance.

I was already tucked in, one night when I managed to yank out the 2nd tooth. Rather than say anything when mom did her bed check I pushed it under my pillow and fell asleep. In the morning I slid my hand under the pillow searching for the shiny quarter I knew the sprite had left only to find, ich, my cold tooth.


I went into the kitchen sniffling and whimpering. Mom, observant as always, asked what was the matter and I showed her my tooth. “The Tooth Fairy didn’t take this one. She doesn’t like me anymore.” Mom sighed and I’m pretty sure was trying hard not to laugh as she hugged me.

“Someone has to tell the Tooth Fairy your tooth fell out dear. I bet she’d already started on her rounds last night when you put it under your pillow. Put it there again and I’m sure she’ll come by.”

Life was simpler then. But I did learn that just because you don’t get what you expect or ask for, it doesn’t mean the Tooth Fairy, your mom or God doesn’t love you anymore.

(And yes, just in case you want to point it out, I am skipping around on very thin ice invoking the Tooth Fairy in a blog about faith. But I figure if I can tell the difference, you can too.)