In our household, we recently made the final transition from the Tooth Fairy era to the season of orthodontics. I’m doing some preliminary work for a retreat coming up in November on prayer. By preliminary, I mean reading a lot of background material before I get to the texts we’ll actually be studying. Now believe or not, there’s a connection between the Tooth Fairy and our prayers. Hear me out.
In the entry for prayer in the Holman Bible Dictionary, it says, “Our understanding of prayer will correspond to our understanding of God.” I think there are times, situations or seasons where we think God is a lot like the Tooth Fairy and we prove this by how we approach Him in prayer.
The Tooth Fairy’s interests are limited … and so are your teeth – The Tooth Fairy only deals in teeth. Baby teeth at that. And there are only twenty-four of those. After that, the Tooth Fairy’s work is done. Sometimes we hesitate or even fail to bring our concerns to God because we believe they are beneath Him. Jesus reminds us in Luke 12:6 that not even sparrows escape God’s attention and active involvement. Alternatively, we may feel that we’ve asked God for enough already, so we can’t possibly ask Him for more help.
The Tooth Fairy doesn’t get our best – What can you do with baby teeth after they’ve come out? Really. And it’s not entirely clear what the Tooth Fairy does with them. Now the stories of the Tooth Fairy seem to be rooted in Viking legends. Vikings have been known to wear a string of baby teeth in battle in the hopes it would bring them success. In reality, the sword and shield were a lot more effective and intimidating, and clearly, the Vikings put a lot more energy and faith in their weapons than a baby teeth necklace. But let’s face it, prayer rarely gets our best effort and attention. It’s often an afterthought, tacked on at the end of a meeting or dozed through at the end of the day. When we relegate prayer to that place in our life it proves that our relationship with God is not a priority, regardless of what we claim.
The Tooth Fairy isn’t well-defined – By that, I mean there isn’t a consensus of what the Tooth Fairy looks like, (Tinkerbell-ish or more like The Rock?) what the M.O. is, or even what the going rate is. (According to a recent survey the average was up over $4 PER TOOTH.) Now to be clear, our image of God is not built on consensus. It’s based on His revelation of Himself in scripture. If our concept of God is based on mythology, preconception, or misinformation–regardless of where those ideas came from–we won’t build a relationship with Him.
Next week we’ll talk about the Great Pumpkin.
Do you ever notice Tooth Fairy Theology creeping into your prayer life? How do you counteract it?