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PRAY NOT IN THIS WAY – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC:        prayer
SCRIPTURE:    Psalm 86:1-17; Matthew 6:1-15
Style:        allegory/conversation:  a child
.             goes to their father and talks to him,
.             echoing how we sometimes pray to God
Cast:         TEEN 1-2, CHILD, FATHER
Set & Props:  keys, money

SCRIPT:

(FATHER enters and stops as TEEN 1 calls for him.
TEEN 1 enters all primly and smiles sweetly.)

T.1    Hi Dad.  Thank you for lunch and the other
.      nice stuff.  I’ll see you again at supper!
.      Bye.

(TEEN 1 walks primly and cheerily off stage.
TEEN 2 rushes up to FATHER eagerly, but speaks
grandly to the congregation, like showing off.)

T.2    Dad!  Dad!  Listen!  I just want to say-
.      you are the best Dad in the whole world,
.      always giving me EVERYTHING I ask for-
.      because – I must be your favorite child.
.      If I’m not already – I totally should be.
.      I do so much for you.  Well, I keep my room clean-
.      (moves away from FATHER’S area in hushed tones)
.      Just don’t look under my bed- Or in the closets-
.      Definitely, don’t look behind the dresser-
.      (grandly again)  But, when you ask me
.      to do other things – you know I will get to them-
.      eventually.  I’ve even jotted them down on a list-
.      (searching pockets)  It’s somewhere around here.
.      (lightly again)  But whatever, I’m sure
.      I’ll find the list at some point.
.      You know that I mean to get to that- one day.
.      (sighing and bracing self)  Okay, so, there is
.      the coolest weekend retreat with my school friends
.      coming up.  And I just HAVE to go- (remembering)
.      Oh! I know you like to have family time, but
.      family will always be there, right?

(TEEN 2 does not wait for FATHER to answer.)           2

T.2    I know you understand.  This sort of retreat
.      doesn’t happen every day.  I can be there
.      next week-  Wait, there’s a party.  And - the week
.      after that- Well, I’ll squeeze in some time
.      with you at some point.  You do know,
.      I’ve got tons of things to do-  huh- well-
.      (waves off the issue lightly, and becomes coy)
.      I know you love me!  So, I need the car keys-

(FATHER solemnly hands some keys to TEEN 2.  
TEEN 2 looks at the keys dubiously.)

T.2    You’re not going to let me drive the other car?
.      The other car is so much nicer.  And-
.      well, because it’s bigger – so it’s way safer.
.      I don’t know why you don’t just give me a car
.      for my birthday.  Everyone else gets a car.
.      You keep making me ask you for the car.
.      I know you usually give me the keys,
.      but do I always have to come to you to ask?
.      Sure, I know you love me and you look out for me,
.      and want the best for me, blah-blah-blah- but
.      the best would be if I had my own car and didn’t
.      have to bother you with all the tiny details.

(FATHER puts a tender hand on TEEN 2’S shoulder.)

T.2    You don’t have to go into any story here about
.      that time you didn’t give me the keys because
.      there was a storm on its way.  I could have seen
.      the weather report- had I been paying attention.
.      See- I know a few things.  Okay, I don’t have time
.      to discuss this issue with you right now.
.      I need to do some quick shopping for the weekend.
.      I want two hundred dollars!  (puts out hand then-)
.      (begrudgingly)  Please?

(FATHER gives TEEN 2 some money.  TEEN 2 studies it.)

T.2    That’s only fifty dollars. I mean, that will cover
.      exactly what I need right now.  And maybe a snack.
.      But what if I see something else that’s really
.      cool?  I don’t want to look poor in front of all
.      my friends.  They’re going think that you are – so
.      NOT cool.  I mean, they already think I’m so lame.
.                                                      3
(FATHER looks at TEEN 2 sadly, as TEEN 2 grumbles.)

T.2    Seriously!  Family time?  And giving us chores?
.      You would look a lot cooler if you would just
.      let me have whatever I wanted, and let me do
.      whatever I wanted.  And when I get into trouble,
.      you’d be there to bail me out-

(TEEN 3 walks in and across the stage, putting up
an angry hand to block the view of FATHER.)

T.3    Not staying long.  I’m still angry with you.

(TEEN 2 yells after TEEN 3 as they exit to other side.)

T.2    You can’t fault Dad for your troubles.
.      He warned you not to go there, but you decided
.      to ignore His advice-

(TEEN 3 enters again, now with a backpack.)

T.3    No!  Dad - does not exist.

T.2    He’s right here.

T.3    Not to me, he isn’t.  I don’t see him.

T.2    Because you’re not looking.

T.3    Tried that.  Doesn’t work for me. (exits)

T.2    (shakes head)  Where was I?  (looks at money)
.      Oh yeah!  Gotta go!  Anyway, see you around.

(As TEEN 2 starts to exit, CHILD rushes in and
FATHER catches CHILD up in a big hug.  CHILD rests head
on FATHER’S shoulder with a content smile.)

CHILD  Daddy, I love you.  Thank you for helping me fix
.      my toy.  And making me pancakes.  And helping me
.      with my homework.  And playing with me.
.      And making me feel better when I’m lonely.
.      And taking care of me.  And teaching me how to
.      get along with my friends.  And being there for me
.      all the time, like when I just need someone to
.      talk to.  Can you read me a story?
.                                                      4
(FATHER smiles and walks out, carrying CHILD.
TEEN 2 has stopped to watch.  After FATHER and CHILD
have left, TEEN 2 looks around and sees that he/she is
now alone.  Studying the money, TEEN 2 decides
to follow FATHER.)

T.2    Dad!  Wait up!

NARRATOR OR PASTOR:  How is your prayer life
.                    and relationship with
.                    your heavenly Father?