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PRAY NOT IN THIS WAY – written by Tanis Harms
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
(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!
(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.
(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?
(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?