Below is an excerpt from a book I’m writing called Adventures in Fishing (for Men). The book is a satirical allegory about Christian attempts at evangelism. He who has ears to hear…
At the Fishing Training Conference, I heard one speaker say that the key to catching fish is to faithfully praying the fishing prayer. We taught a whole seminar on the history of the fishing prayer and the amazing catches of fish that some fisherman had after praying this prayer. The prayer is kind of written in an archaic style, so he even went through the prayer line by line to teach us what the words meant. As he did so, I could sense the power of this simple prayer, and made the commitment to memorize it and pray it several times a day.
Here is the Fishing Prayer:
Our Father above the water,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy rain will come, thy rivers run,
On earth as they do in heaven.
Give us this day our daily fish,
And forgive our excess limit,
As we forgive those who set the limit.
Lead us not into rough water;
Deliver us at the end of season.
Yours is the river, the ocean, and the fishing glory
Forever and ever, Amen.
The man recommended that we pray this prayer at least once a day, but he said that those fishermen who had the most success prayed it at least three times a day. So I have begun to recite this prayer at every meal. I even go the extra mile and recite it in the morning when I wake up and at night before I go to bed. So since I am praying it five times a day, I am almost guaranteed to become the greatest fisherman the world has ever seen. I am sure that by this time next year, when the man gets up to teach all the amateur fisherman who have never caught a fish about the miracle-working wonders of this prayer, he will have some stories to tell them about me, and how I prayed five times a day, and as a result, caught the biggest fish the world and the most fish all in one day.
Just dreaming about how great of a fisherman I was going to become made me want to tell my neighbor. But I realized I couldn’t just go tell him that I was a great fisherman. I had to show him. So I decided to start saying the early morning fisherman prayer out in my fishing boat. I got up just before dawn and went outside and climbed into the bow of the boat. Then, with my arms raised to the Great Fishing Father in the sky, I shouted the prayer at the top of my voice.
The problem was that the prayer is kind of short. I got all the way through it, and I don’t think my neighbor even heard my prayer. So I decided to pray it again, even louder this time. But he still didn’t appear. I ended up praying that prayer eight times before he finally came outside. His hair was a mess, and he was only wearing boxer shorts and a t-shirt. He clearly had no sense of shame.
He looked at me quizzically, and then looked up into the sky.
“What’s all the shouting about?” he said, rudely interrupting my prayer. “My wife and I were trying to sleep, and you woke us up.”
“I was praying, of course,” I responded scornfully. What kind of heathen doesn’t recognize prayer when he hears it? “Praying early in the morning is one reason I am the greatest fisherman in the world. I pray five times a day.”
“I don’t know if shouting a prayer over and over at dawn makes you the greatest fisherman in the world, but it certainly makes you the worst neighbor. If you keep this up, I am going to have to call the cops. I started working the late shift down at the factory, and I cannot get woken up at dawn by your shouting.”
I am always amazed at how rude my neighbor is. But it reminded me of what one of the other speakers at the fishing training conference had said, about how we would get ridiculed, mocked, and persecuted for being a fisherman. He even said that we might even make our wives and kids hate us, but that is part of the cost of being a fisherman. But still, I didn’t really want my neighbor to call the cops.
“Fine,” I said. “I’ll pray a little quieter from now on. But you really shouldn’t be sleeping this late in the day, anyway. The early bird gets the worm, you know.”
To be honest, I had trouble getting up that early in the morning anyway, and was never able to do it regularly again. But I did make sure that every time my neighbor was out in his lawn or driveway during the daytime, I got up into my boat and raised my arms to heaven and shouted my prayer once to twice to the fishing father. I wanted to remind my neighbor that I was the greatest fisherman in the world, and though he may infringe on my right to pray early in the morning, he couldn’t stop me from praying during the day.
One of these days, he might actually become a fisherman also.