scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: A Cub Scout's Simple Prayer
Mark Arend (mwarend@INTERNETWIS.COM
Wed Apr 12 2000 - 08:47:06 CDT
Got this from a friend yesterday--
A Cub Scout's Simple Prayer
By Peggy Porter
My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short
time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet a paper, a block of
wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad."
That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. Dad was not receptive to
doing things with his son. But Gilbert tried. Dad read the paper and
scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager
son. The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.
Finally, Mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out. The project
began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply
read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And he did! I read aloud
the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn't do.
Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car. A
little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom).
Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling
pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning", the pride that comes with knowing
you did something on your own. Then the big night came. With his blue
pinewood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big
race. Once there, my little one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's
car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the other
cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body
styles made for speed.
A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's lopsided, wobbly,
unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility Gilbert was the only boy
without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single
parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side. Gilbert
As the race began, it was done in elimination fashion. You kept racing as
long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down the finely
sanded ramp. Finally, it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest
looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my
wide-eyed, shy eight year old asked if they could stop the race for a
minute, because he wanted to pray. The race stopped.
Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny-looking block of wood between
his hands. With a wrinkled brow, he set to converse with his Father. He
prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile
on his face, and announced, "Okay, I am ready."
As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car
sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and
watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great
speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's
car. Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank You" as the crowd
roared in approval The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in had
and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?"
To which my young son answered, "Oh, no sir. That wouldn't be fair to ask
God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to make it so I don't
cry when I lose."
Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to
win the race; he didn't ask God to fix the outcome. Gilbert asked God to
give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars he
didn't cry out to God, "No fair, they had a father's help." No, he went to
his Father for strength. Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time
asking God to rig the race, to make us number one; or too much time asking
God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God's
strength to get through the struggle.
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Phillippines: 4:13
Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night. He
never doubted that God would indeed answer his request. He didn't pray to
win, thus hurt someone else. He prayed that God supply the grace to lose
with dignity. Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father
also showed the crowd that he wasn't there without a "dad". His Father was
most definitely there with him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that
night, with his Father at his side.
Mark W. Arend, Scoutmaster Outside of a dog a book is
Troop 736 Man's best friend. Inside
Beaver Dam, Wisc. of a dog it's too dark