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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)

TITLE: Role Model
By Stephen Paynter


I closed the autobiography with a wistful sigh. Kirk Kirkoff's life was a stirring example of what a man -- or woman, of course – could achieve for the Kingdom, if only they were prepared to pray and witness like he did. It seems that revival will follow if only one prays for an hour, every other hour, through the lonely watches of the night. Provided, of course, one is then prepared to risk reputation and health taking the gospel out onto the inner-city streets, seeking to convert passers-by with the sincerity of one's utterance.

I felt stirred in my very being, and I resolved that I would begin this regime of prayer that very night. I supposed I ought to beetle off to bed early. I informed my wife of my plans.

“It's only seven thirty. Aren't you feeling well, sweetie?” My wife looked up from her laptop and gave me a sympathetic look.

“No, no. I'm fine. It's just I'm going to be praying at 12, 2, and 4 o'clock tonight, for an hour each time, just like Kirk Kirkoff does. I 'm hoping to be able to witness and see gang-members and drug addicts converted.”

Are there any gang-members in Oxford, dear?” My wife raised a skeptical eyebrow.

“I don't know. But I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have stopped Mr. Kirkoff.”

“But don't you think you'll be too tired to work properly at the office tomorrow?”

“Well, Mr. Kirkoff didn't mention any such side-effects in his book. It must be because God gives strength to those who wait upon him.”

My wife hmmphed. “He also gives wisdom to those who have the sense to ask him. I wonder if he gives patience to needy wives?”

I marveled how my wife could completely miss the point. I told her that sometimes I didn't understand her at all.

She nodded. “So, explain to me again why disrupting your sleep like that is better than just praying in a large block before you go to bed.”

I opened my mouth, and then shut it again. Now I came to think about it, I wasn't sure Mr. Kirkoff had ever really explained. “Er ... I'm not sure,” I had to admit. “Perhaps it shows God how serious one is about the whole business.”

“Perhaps,” my wife conceded.

I kissed her goodnight and I was in bed by eight; my alarm set for 12:00. Unfortunately, sleep completely eluded me. I tossed and turned for hours, although only twenty minutes ticked by on the clock. I sat up, and tried to see if it was really working. It was.

I stared at the ceiling. This room really needed a new coat of paint. I'd buy some tomorrow. I pondered colour schemes. But even after I'd mentally planned the decor for the whole house, I was still anything but sleepy. Frustrated, I went downstairs to make myself a milky drink.

My wife was just locking up. It was 11 o'clock, our normal bedtime.

“Have you had a good sleep, darling?”

I'm rather afraid I grunted an ungracious negative.

Eventually, I did fall asleep. However, it seemed I had no sooner dozed off than the alarm exploded beside me. I hurriedly turned it off, and sat there, too stunned to move. I hadn't felt like this since my student days, on mornings after parties the night before.

I crept quietly from the room, the silence broken only by me inadvertently kicking one of my errant shoes across the room with a thud.

“Sorry!” I whispered, in case I had woken my wife.

Downstairs, I settled myself in my armchair, and started to pray. I concentrated first on God, and how worthy he was. Then on the great task of re-evangelising contemporary Britain. Then I pleaded for an anointing for myself, that I may play my humble part in this great task. After this I allowed myself a little glance at my watch. Ten minutes had passed.

So I prayed all those prayers over again. Five more minutes elapsed.

I yawned. Afraid I might fall asleep, I got down on my knees and knelt with my head on the seat.

That was how my wife discovered me in the morning. She found everything highly amusing. My demeanor was rather stiff at first, although probably not as stiff as my poor knees.

I've since conceded that perhaps Kirkoff's life is not for me. However, let me tell you about the chap whose autobiography I'm currently reading ....

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Member Comments
Member Date
Julie Arduini04/19/07
What a good read! The exchange between husband and wife was realistic and funny. His intentions were good but I guess God only needed one Kirk. I can only imagine the next autobiography!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/21/07
Excellently written! I could so see you asleep on your knees, like I used to be in watch-night services when I was a little girl.
Joanney Uthe04/21/07
Great reminder that we need to be who God created us to be rather than use a formula for doing God's work. Great job.
Jan Ackerson 04/22/07
This is wonderful! I really like your portrayal of their relationship, and the delicate, wry humor throughout. Quite charming.
Lynda Schultz 04/22/07
I could relate it this (as many can, I'm sure!). Gentle humour and a subtle message. Well done.
Jacquelyn Horne04/24/07
How often we try to follow someone else's path. A funny account of one of those times. But it sounds like you're off on another exploration. I'm praying for your wife. Good writing.
Shari Armstrong 04/25/07
:) We should choose our role models carefully shouldn't we?
Kathie Thomas05/09/07
Apologies for contacting you this way but we need your bio note please for the Faithwriters book "Hidden in the Hymns". Can you please contact me?