By Doug Mendenhall
What about a child's prayer for bubble-gum-flavored rain?
What about a hate-filled man's prayer for revenge?
What about the deathbed prayer of a killer?
Let the theologians argue. Whatever system God uses to filter, categorize and react to all those prayers is surely the best possible.
So forget about it.
Instead, think about this for a minute:
I believe that God has heard every song ever sung, every tune ever played.
All of them.
We know from the psalms and other biblical passages that God is honored by the raising of "joyful noises" in his direction – that's a lot of leeway, and that tells me that God is a music lover with broad tastes.
So, I boldly assume, God has heard it all.
Not just "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Amazing Grace," but even devilish stuff such as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Devil With the Blue Dress On" and the old Barney theme song.
I'm not sure what God makes of some of the songs, but I think he knows them, knows the story of how they were written, by whom and under what circumstances.
I think he knows the sadness that went into "O Sacred Head" and "All By Myself."
I think he knows the confidence and camaraderie of "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "We Will Rock You."
He may very well tap his foot to a good mandolin riff as well as to Handel's "Messiah."
I think he gets the hate-soaked despair that's behind a lot of rap.
I think he gets the beer-soaked lust that's behind a lot of country.
I think he gets the reckless, total abandon of rock.
God is ancient, and I know that each new generation tends to think that it is more musically astute than the previous generation, but God defies that principle.
If you are, say, 17, God has heard all 3,547 songs on your iPod. He knows why you chose each one. He knows what the lyrics are and what they mean. He knows what your mind associates with every verse. (He even knows whether you actually paid for each song, or just found a way around the iTunes fee although that's another topic for another day.)
You know what a cool thing it is to share a song with a friend – crank it up on the car stereo, share a pair of ear buds with your heads bobbing together, croon the words while your bud plays guitar around some campfire.
I just want you to consider the possibility that God has, for your entire life, been sharing every song you've ever loved.
And I don't say that to warn you to hold it in or just listen to stuff you think won't shock him.
I say it because how well God knows your music is a just a feeble example of how well God knows you – whether you're quietly praying or like, totally rocking out.