Prayers are difficult, 7-year-old Bryanna thought as she made her mind up to be a good Christian. One of her classmates had sold the religion to her, perhaps a bit too successfully- belief was a game and a competition.

She prayed on Monday afternoons that the ice cream truck would be out on their street.

She prayed on Thursday mornings that she would do well on the spelling test.

She prayed occasionally for Bryan to like her back.

She thought Buddhism was “bad”, and sought to conquer the other faiths in her class- did you know, Emily, that Buddha was just a human being? How do you worship a person?

Age tamed her fiery faith and politeness diluted her intensity. She remembered to pray twice a semester, before the quarterly exams. She no longer found prayer to be difficult. Prayer was a chore. Life began to resemble more of a pinball game than a billiards match, and the ball sometimes bounced completely off the target. Belief was a scapegoat. God was not a human being. How do you worship a god?