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I always believed God is a "pleasant help in time of trouble"
I was almost dissappointed to find the Bible says He is a "present help" instead!
My parents were very proud of my saying my prayers while kneeling beside my bed. In the Poem "Jentle Jesus meek and mild" I mis-spoke the line "Pity my simplicity" as "Pity my simple city". This at least made sense to me at a time in my life when the original was, to say the least, obscure! The trouble was that my reading was never corrected and any witness was encouraged to giggle at the pius child.
I am now an old lady. My Mother or Father always said Grace at the dinner table. When I was a small child, my dad would always include in his prayer "Bless this food for its intended use" I always thought he was saying "Bless this food fritz and tenda juice" for the life of me I could not figure out what he was saying and wondered what he was talking about.
Altho I am old I think of this at least once a week, if not more.
It did take me a long time to figure out just what he meant. I now tell my grandchildren about this.
My parents each had funny misconceptions about certain prayers:
My father was confused by the line "Our Father who art in Heaven". He thought it meant "... who *makes* art in Heaven". He would envision God up there, painting a picture at an easel.
My (Catholic) mother thought the line about how Christ "suffered under Pontius Pilate" was "suffered under a bunch of violets".
I always thought "The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want" meant you had to put up with God, even if you didn't want to.
I figured "he maketh me lie down in green pastures" was kind of like when your parents made you go to bed early.
The grown-ups in my church had a strange prayer based on Matthew 6:9:
"Our Father, who aren't in heaven. How will it be Thy name?"
(If He aren't in heaven, where are He?)
at the end of a prayer in school assemblies i thought you had to say amen really loudly otherwise you would get in trouble with the teacher. We all used to sit on the floor in assemblies and i thought you had to bend over as much as possible (so your head was really near your feet) otherwise the teachers thought you weren't praying
I've almost died laughing reading about 'Mary, full of grapes', but in other languages that prayer also causes some trouble;
In Dutch, we say 'Mary, full of grace' as 'Maria, vol van genade'. But since I didn't listen too well as a kid, I always thought they were saying 'Maria, vol van garnalen', which litterally means 'Mary, full of schrimps'.
when people at church would say amen during a prayer in agreeance to what had been said in the prayer, i used to think they said amen because they thought the prayer was over. You can imagine how proud of myself i was as i was smarter than a bunch of grown ups and ALWAYS said amen at the right time. 0=D
When I was little my grandmother made me say this prayer at night before going to sleep "..and if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." This prayer scared me because I was afraid I would die in my sleep, and also that God couldn't stop it--so I was afraid to fall asleep and would lie awake in the darkness for hours tryng not to fall asleep.
"Bless us O Lord in these thy gifts which we are about to recieve from thy bounty through Christ our Lord amen."
My family recited this every day before dinner. However, my brother and sister and I all thought it was "Ruth Christ," not "through Christ," and that Ruth Christ was Jesus' sister, since they had the same last name :)
When I lived with my dad, he told me to say my prayers every night before I go to bed. He meant EVERY night. And for the longest time I thought if I didn't say my prayers before I go to bed, then I would die in my sleep. So I actually did that EVERY night, until I lived with my mom and saw she didn't die when she didn't say her prayers.
when i was at school (Catholic school)
we used say the Hail Mary. Hail Mary, full of grace, ect, ect. I thought it was 'Hairy Mary, full of Grapes'. I always wondered why the statues of Mary were not hairy and where the grapes were.
When my parents and I were praying to God, I thought they were saying:
"Our father who does art in heaven, Harold be thy name, thy kingdom come, I will be done with dressings made in heaven. Give us our jelly bread and forgive us our trash baskets and forgive us who put trash bags among us. Lead us not into Penn Station but deliver us some e-mail."
When I was little I used to believe that the phrase "delivers us from evil" referred to God putting the entire human race into a big yellow envelope and sending us away somewhere evil couldn't reach us.
A four year old friend of mine was very proud to have learned the "our father" at church, and so she was reciting it to me. She ended it with "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us with evil."
Well, i dont know what god SHE's praying to....
that I could throw my problems up in the sky and God would reach down and catch them.
As a young Catholic child, I knew I needed to bless myself with the sign of the cross before and after my prayers. For some reason I believed the before-prayers sign of the cross got God on the line (like a telephone call) and the after-prayers one hung up the phone. I'd lie in bed wondering if God was still "on the line." I thought that until I was 17!
I went to a catholic primary school for we had to make a 'sign of the cross' before prayer (in the name of the father, and of his son, and of the holy spirit amen). However I joined nursery later than everyone and missed the teaching of this, so just had to pick it up as i went along.
I was saying 'For the name of my Farmer, and of his gun, and that Holy Spit - Amen' for 5 years!
...and, of course, I always believed that we asked God, in the Lord's Prayer, to "lead a snot into temptation."