Last night, I read my daughter a book before bed. That’s not an uncommon thing, but what was cool about this particular book she picked out was that it physically belonged to me 25 years ago. I got to watch her enjoy something (so much so we read it twice) while I re-lived my enjoyment of it.
The book is called The Beast in the Bathtub, written by Kathleen Stevens and illustrated by Ray Bower. At its core, it’s a story that tries to ease the monster-under-the-bed fear by creating a friendly Beast who enjoys a bath with the main character, Lewis, followed by a pillow fight, cleaning up, having a snack, and getting ready for bed.
What caught my attention in this story was a simple prayer Lewis says before bed:
“God bless Mommy. God bless Dad. God bless Grandpa and Grandma.” Lewis peeked through his laced fingers. The Beast was watching him. “And please, God,” Lewis added, “bless the Beast.”
Disclaimer: I’m taking this out of context. I don’t believe this was meant to be interpreted in the way I’m going to discuss it. The Beast becomes Lewis’s friend, and they have a fun evening together. The word “Beast” is used as a name, and this is really a prayer for those in Lewis’s life that are closest to him.
But that last sentence sticks. “Bless the Beast.” It’s not an idea you’re used to thinking about, right? It seems to be somewhat contradictory, as beasts aren’t usually ones to be prayed for. The rest of the prayer fits well; those are things we are used to praying for. We are used to praying for our friends and family, or for people who are sick and in need. We pray for situations in our life that we feel are out of our control.
But how often do we pray for Beasts? Do we pray for the people who we don’t get along with, don’t agree with, whatever? And not necessarily a prayer that they change their mind or heart (because what if it’s our mind or heart that needs changed?), but just a prayer for them, for their well-being? I can tell you my answer: I don’t do it nearly enough.
It’s not that I am actively refusing to pray for anyone, because that’s not the case. It’s also not an excuse, either. I honestly attribute it to me thinking of those that are closest to me above all. And if you fall into the same boat that I do, I would assume it’s for a similar reason.
Even though it’s probably not meant to be taken this way, it’s an admirable thought. We’re living in a world that seems to encourage heated arguments, more so than ever with this election cycle. Imagine this: praying for those you disagree with, no matter who they support. Because no matter what happens in November, these are the people you will continue to live with, and a little bit of love and understanding now can go a long way later. You know what else? The potential leaders of this country can use prayers for peace and guidance as well. And like it or not, one of these two candidates will most likely be our president soon, and that is a definite need for prayer. Even now, as the rhetoric seems to be eroding further into pettiness, we could be praying for civility at the very least.
What “Beasts” do you have in your life? How have you been lifting them up? I know from my perspective, I’m not happy with how I’ve done in that regard. Maybe, after you read through this, don’t go back to your social media outlet of choice to deliver one more sarcastic/angry/sardonic comment. Maybe spend that time thinking about those that don’t make it easy for you to love them. Pray for blessings for the “Beasts.”
Matthew 5:44 – But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,