This is the weirdest prayer I have ever heard about, and yet it makes a lot of sense if we take the time to think about it. It is found in an old publication and it goes like this: “Dear Lord, make me the person my dog thinks I am!”
I guess that unless you have owned a dog at some point in your life you may find it hard to relate to that statement. The point is that a dog will never be disappointed by its master. It will faithfully follow and obey (to whatever extent it has been trained), and wait for you to come home, wagging its tail in anticipation.
If you are a leader of some kind in the church then this prayer could be translated to “Lord, make me the kind of person the children, the youth, the members think I am." If they only knew us as we know ourselves. We look good to them because they do not see into the very core of our being, as the Lord does. We could be dangerously deceived if we judged ourselves by their gratitude.
This, however becomes a blessing in disguise: it provides us with the perfect justification to blackmail God! We can remind God that he has to transform us, not for our own sake, but for the sake of those to whom he has sent us. Remembering the story of Balaam’s donkey, we can tell God: “Lord, you spoke through the mouth of a donkey once, and you can do it again!” This is a safe and legitimate form of blackmail, because what we are asking is exactly what the Lord himself desires. And we can be confident that he will answer this prayer - for the sake of those looking up to us for guidance.
Some say that good spiritual direction is perhaps the greatest single need in the church today. We have tried far to long to keep people out of hell. And even though our calling to preach the Good News will never stop this side of Jordan, we may have failed to help committed souls to grow.