Praying to a Slot Machine God

by | May 22, 2005 | Experiencing God, Joy, Worship

“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came form heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Acts 2:2

When I was fifteen, and a sophomore in high school, I probably would have said that I was a Christian. However, I never would have admitted it on my own. At that point in my life, I had a “slot-machine God.” That is, I prayed to someone, something, presumably God, but only if I wanted something. It was like I was pushing quarters into a slot machine, just blindly hoping that things would line up to give me the desired result.

Earlier in that school year, I had moved and I was still in the process of making new friends when I started attending a youth group with my new friend Felicia. The youth group was fun, but probably the only reason I kept going was the presence of this cute guy a year older than me. Even so, the church was a good influence on my life, and I began to pray to what I was beginning to understand as God. Every night I would pray before I went to bed. It was always the same two-sentence prayer but I figured it was a pretty good start.

One Sunday night the church brought in a traveling musical group called Red Letter Edition (RLE). I went because Felicia and a few other new friends were going. During most of the show, I paid little attention to their Bible skits and up-beat songs, but rather talked to friends and flirted with guys. Soon the show became more serious and RLE started singing worship songs.

I had heard most of the songs before, so they were somewhat familiar. What was unfamiliar, and actually pretty uncomfortable for me, was the people around me who were truly worshipping God with these songs. By this point I was standing near the front of the room, right between Felicia and another friend, Celeste. As we sang the songs, both girls got into the the music and would close their eyes and sort of swing along with the beat. Then the moment came.

At nearly the same time, both Celeste and Felicia took my hands and lifted them up with theirs. Ordinarily I would have been very uncomfortable, probably shifting my eyes around and counting down for the song to be over so that they would let go. But that wasn’t what happened that night. Instead I felt something so magnificent that I can’t even put it into words. Before closing my own eyes, I looked from Celeste to Felicia, both of whom were deep in worship.

At that moment I thought, “I want what they have.” Their worship was so full of joy, and I wanted nothing more than to experience that joy.

The rest of that night is a total memory blur. But right there in that moment I prayed, finally, to the true and living God, that I might receive what my friends had. And in that moment I cried without caring who saw me. And in that moment, I fell head over heels for my Savior.

Whitney Markell

A student at the University of Michigan, Whitney is involved with the Campus Crusade for Christ Ministry.


Praying to a Slot Machine God