This started with the thought that God’s name does get used as part of culture, and not in the way he intended. Of course, challenging culture is hard work, and you have to be careful how you do it. This was a way that I and the wife devised.
O.M.G. – the shortest prayer in the world.
With: a marker pen and flipchart.
Write the initials O.M.G. on the flipchart and ask if anyone knows what it means without shouting out. Ask for the hands to be put down, you will come back to it.
Point out the importance of names. I say something like this:
Did you know that names are important? For example, when you meet someone for the first time, what is the first thing that you give them? (ask for a couple of children’s names… lets say its Thomas and Ben). Imagine this, you are sat next to Ben in class. Ben, can I borrow your rubber? Ben probably would give it to you. (Repeat this with other items, like a pencil, a ruler.) But if you just said ‘Oi’ because you don’t know his name, Ben probably wouldn’t be as helpful. Or then (at this point shout without looking) THOMAS! (he will jump out of his skin). Did that make you jump? Sorry, but you see what I mean? Names are powerful. You can ask people to do things or tell them things. Giving your name to someone is risky: it means you are wanting to be friends with them and that you are willing to do something for them.
Lets go back to O.M.G. What does it mean (Oh My God). I don’t know if you have ever thought about this, but it is the shortest prayer in the world. It could really mean ‘oh my God help me.’ Sometimes it’s shortened to just God, or Christ, sometimes with and Oh God, which just misses out the my bit. Quite often it’s if someone stubs there toe, or is surprised by something. But I wonder if it is really the right way to use it…. Let me explain why, it all started about 3000 years ago…
(Tell a summary version of Moses hearing God’s voice on Mt Sinai when he was a shepherd. Ex 3:1-15). You see God’s name is special – Yahweh, or Jehovah means ‘I am’. God gave his name, he wanted to be known, to be friends, just like we have already described. In fact God even made a rule, ‘don’t use my name the wrong way,’ to make sure that people didn’t take advantage of him. So knowing all that the question is this, if God loves us so much and shows it by letting us know his name, should we use his name just as any other word when we stub a toe, or are surprised?
Finish by saying the shortest prayer in the world. Say this prayer once to demonstrate, then everyone can say it together.
Oh my God, please help me. Amen