Please. Just One Miracle.

Clint Eastwood’s 1985 film “Pale Rider” is about a mysterious preacher who shows up, apparently, as the result of a little girl’s prayer. Like most cowboy movies, he’s there to drive the bad guys out who are bullying the local residents. But there’s a powerful scene that puts an honest twist on the twenty-third Psalm that just gets me.

The scene centers around a little girl named Megan who is burying her dog. Earlier, some horseman rode through their camp shooting guns, kicking people, and toppling tents. Her dog was among the casualties. As she buries him in the woods, she recites Psalm 23 while adding in her own commentary.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

“But I do want.”

He leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul.

“But they killed my dog.”

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.

“But I am afraid.”

Thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

“We need a miracle.”

Thy loving kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

“If you exist.”

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

“But I’d like to get more of this life first. If you don’t help us, we’re all gonna die. Please. Just one miracle. Amen.”

God hears honest prayers. It’s not the hollow recitation of unfelt and unbelieved words that move his heart. It’s something like a little girl’s authentic plea. Jesus once encouraged child-like faith. I have to believe he would delight in her version of the famous Psalm. Maybe we should pray more like her. If God is a good shepherd, I have no doubt he’s listening.