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After learning in Sunday school that God can hear your prayers even if you don't say them out loud, I became extremely worried that the devil might also be able to read my thoughts. I asked my mom about it and she assured me that no, the devil cannot read your mind, only God can. After that I refused to pray out loud because I was convinced the devil would hear what I wanted and then make sure it didn't happen. I also made it a point to thank God for things out loud, just to rub it in the devil's face.
I used to believe that prayers were like phoning God ie when you made the sign of the cross it was like dialling the number and after you said your prayer you HAD to do the sign of the cross to hang up or God would still be able to read your mind and he'd know if you were doing or thinking anything bad. I also believed that if you were interrupted during your prayer you would have to stop and make the sign of the cross to hang up and THEN you could attend to the interruption. I was about eight years old when I started to doubt this belief but then one day we were saying prayers in class (Catholic school) and the teacher made us do do sign of the cross but then another teacher came in and our teacher just stopped. My friend leaned over and whispered to me and said "Be good, God can still hear us because we didn't hang up". Thus my unusual belief was reaffirmed for another year.
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.
When I was learning the Lord's Prayer, I used to say, "Our Father, who does art in heaven...."
I used to believe God was like the evil magic genie in fairytales who would grant wishes with unwanted consequences so I had to pray very carefully and specifically so as not to leave any loopholes.
In the Hail Mary prayer I used to think it was 'Bless a dark fowl among women' instead of 'Blessed art thou among women'
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.
When I used to pray, when I was little, I wasn't always sure if God was there, he's a very busy man, having to take care of the world and stuff, so when I would pray, it would begin something like "Dear God, if you not here right now, I'm leaving you a message...." I was a weird kid.
When I was little I took the phrase YOU CAN BE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO BE too literally and thought you could be a tree or an animal. So I prayed every night and hoped God would turn me into a hedgehog.
I used to think an alternative to praying to God, you could go outside and shout as loud as you can toward the sky so He can hear you.
"Our father, with Art in Heaven, how do you know my name?"
My husband and I realized one day that our 3 year old was praying, "God is great. God is good. Let us spank him for our food . . . "
When my daughter was learning her prayers in parochial school, her homework was to practice reciting them. I was in stitiches when she spoke of the "Holy Spearmint", "Jesus, Mary, and Jophesine" (her grandmother's name is Josephine and she pronounced that backwards too!), and "Hail Mary, full of...full of...Mom, what's she full of?"
I thought that when they held a funeral, the vicar used to say, 'In the name of the father, the son, and in the hole he goes' instead of Holy Ghost! Oh dear!
My mother was a proud supporter of the feminist movement in 70's era America. At the end of every prayer said at mass or in my classes, I would always shout "and a-woman too" in response to the amen said at the end of every prayer.
I used to believe, upon hearing the Lord's Prayer, that 'thou art in heaven' meant exactly what it sounded like. God was an artist, bumming around all day on the clouds with a giant celestial easel painting beautiful images. The giant hippy.
I used to believe that "pray without ceasing" meant pray without peeking. I didn't know what "ceasing" meant, so I guessed it was an old King James word for peeking. I was sure God wouldn't answer my prayer if I looked around while I prayed.
I used to believe that the Catholic prayer that says..."Give us this day our daily bread..." was actually .. "Give us this day our jelly bread..."!
I'll never forget one night at dinner when my mom's parents were visiting. We said the Our Father as our Grace, and then, right as my grandfather took a bite of his steak, my little brother asked, "Granddad, are you God?"
See, my grandfather's name is Howard, and my brother thought the prayer went "Our Father, who art in heaven, Howard be thy name...."
We still laugh over that night.
My parents used to say prayers with me before bed. Somehow the phrase "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" turned into "Father, Son and Hallway Ghost" in my head. The thought terrified me; if I absolutely had to walk down the hallway alone at night, I'd run to the light switch, turn it on, then run to my bedroom and jump in bed.
I still feel funny walking down the hallway at night.