The Prayer Box (2018) Movie Script

- You're gonna be late.
- Can't you take me?
No, I can't--
it's in the opposite direction.
She'll be asking for me.
I'll go with you.
No. Go to church.
But why do I...
Because I'm trying to...
Look, God knows what I need--
I have begged, pleaded,
I have said it all--
and He is welcome to intervene
at any time. Really.
But I can't sit in church,
smiling and singing,
when cancer is killing my child
across town.
I can't.
Can I just... I...
Wesley, please. I'm tired.
Mallory needs your prayers.
Maybe God
will have a harder time
saying no to a 13-year-old.
'Cause apparently He has
no problem looking past me.
- Don't be late.
- But we have no...
Submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior
am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting
Looking above
Filled with His goodness
Lost in His love
This is my story
This is my song
Praising my Savior
All the day long
This is my story
This is my song
Praising my Savior
All the day long.
All right! Now, that's
why we come to church?
- Isn't it great
to be able to be here
in the house of the Lord,
to be able to come here
and invite God
to join us today
in His holy house.
at this time,
the altar is open for you.
As I look out among you,
I'm thinking that
there are a few of you
that maybe need to come up here
and unburden yourselves,
let go of some of the heaviness
that you dragged in here
with you today.
Why sit here all morning with
that heaviness in your heart?
Come, come on up
and give it to the Lord.
Okay, now, with eyes closed
and heads bowed,
if there is anyone
that needs to bring something
to the Lord,
that you come up
and you do it right now.
Come on up, folks.
I promise you...
your heart will feel
so much better.
Please come up
to the altar and...
place your prayer...
place your requests for God
in the box.
And come and...
give your hearts to Him.
Give over your burdens to...
your Savior.
Boy, God is good, isn't He?
All right, then.
Okay. Good.
All right, let's...
let's everyone go ahead
and have a seat.
Sister Lorene has
an announcement for us.
Thank you, Pastor.
Those wonderful smells
coming from the banquet room
tell me that all of you
are, prepared today
for today's potluck.
It's good to know
God hears us, isn't it?
- Yeah.
- Yeah.
Why don't you write
your request down,
put it in the box,
and let God do His job, okay? kind
to help me with everything,
so they are, um...
- Thanks, Wesley.
- ...they're setting up tables
in the... in the banquet room.
Many of you have, um,
have already brought
your dishes and everything.
Jane is going to show you
exactly where...
where you need
to put everything.
Some of you need to bring--
that you said
you brought drinks.
If you will, just go ahead
and get 'em to her.
f necessary, we'll have
somebody run and-and get...
Hey, kid.
- Yeah?
- Just a second.
I'm sorry you were rushed.
- Doesn't matter.
- Sure it does.
He cares, you know.
I get it.
It is his job, after all.
I'm not talking
about Pastor Conlin.
I'm talking about the Lord.
Sure doesn't seem that way.
Sometimes what we feel and...
well, what we know...
aren't always the same.
Are you staying
for the potluck?
I'm just about to head out.
Didn't bring anything
to share, so...
I just carried four casseroles
and a chocolate cake
for my wife.
There's enough.
How about we
just enjoy ourselves?
Mr. Wells, I just...
I don't think...
You look like you haven't had
a good meal in weeks.
We're gonna take care of that.
So, ready for the math test
Yeah. It shouldn't be too bad.
Easy for you to say.
I studied all day yesterday,
and it still feels as if
I'm reading a foreign language.
You should try the cream puffs.
I helped my mom fill them
last night.
Yeah. Sure.
Hello, everyone.
Hello there again.
Now, before all of you
peeling off here,
I have the results today
of today's dish-off.
But first, how about
these gorgeous ribbon bouquets
made for us
by our own Mrs. Patterson?
Aren't they beautiful?
You know, this was maybe
our toughest one.
As a matter of fact, our judges
went back and forth a bit,
but we finally decided
on this delicious
creamed chicken dish.
And the winner is
our gifted cook...
W... Wesley Eldredge.
Wesley Eldredge?
You're a good woman,
Mrs. Wells.
Mr. Wells?
Could you tell Mrs. Wells
I'm sorry?
Tell her yourself.
Yeah, that can go there.
And that can go there.
Mrs. Wells...
I'm really sorry.
Go on, now.
- Are you sure?
- Yeah.
And tell your mother
we're still praying.
Yes, ma'am.
My jacket.
Pastor Conlin.
Yep. I'll be right there.
All doctors to the E.R.
They can't fix me.
That's what she's
telling her, right?
I don't know what
they're talking about, Mallory.
Maybe your medication.
I keep asking Mom
what Heaven will be like,
but she just tells me to stop
asking questions like that.
Yeah, because
she's scared, okay?
Sometimes I wish
she would just stop.
That the doctors would stop.
I want to be done.
Is today sometimes?
Mom says you went
to church today.
Said a prayer for you.
- Wrote it down, even.
- I think if I knew
God heard me when I prayed,
it would help me not be so...
Mr. Wells says
that God sees all of us.
I pray and I pray--
nothing happens.
Remember Holly's grandmother?
She was really sick.
They prayed and she got better.
Maybe she would have
gotten better anyway.
And that's one time--
who else do you know
who's got
a real prayer answered?
I mean, like really answered.
- Lots of people.
- Who?
I'm telling you,
a lot of people.
Mom used to pray
in that chair all the time.
Now she just cries.
Well, maybe that's praying
in its own way.
Out of the kajillion prayers
every day,
why would I ever be important
enough for Him to notice?
You're the most important
person in the world.
To me.
Thank you, but you're not God.
I'll make sure He notices.
I will. I promise, okay?
I'll make sure He notices you,
somehow, some way,
and then I'll make sure
He knows everything about you.
Will you tell me if He answers?
It'll help me be... braver.
You're already
the bravest girl I know.
You didn't really make
that casserole.
Well, someone says differently.
Did you see
that big,
beautiful ribbon I got?
- I'm gonna have
to charge it. -I told you
- last time you were overdue.
- Yeah, just one more time.
- Please?
- Look, kid,
if you can't pay,
just have your mom come in
and sign up for free lunches.
Why do you put me
through this every day?
We're together.
I'll pay you back later.
I just forgot my money today.
Don't worry about it.
Yeah, but the youth group
uses that room on Thursdays.
Maybe they could use the...
multipurpose room.
Hey, let me,
let me call you back in a few.
I have something I might have
to deal with here in a second.
I'll call you back.
Hey, Wesley.
You okay? Your sister?
She's the same.
what can I do for you?
I was thinking that...
well, I've got
all this extra time,
and with my mom and sister
always in the hospital,
I was...
Come in. Sit down.
I need a job.
I was wondering if you could
use any help around the church.
what kind of work
were you thinking?
Anything, really.
I can clean up
or answer phones,
whatever you got.
You ever done
that type of work before?
Not exactly.
I mean, I clean up in the house
and I answer the phone, but...
- never for pay.
- How old are you again, Wesley?
I think it would be illegal for
me to hire a 13-year-old, so...
Not if I work on the weekends.
I already checked.
Look, I admire
your ambition, but...
look, we...
we cut the janitor
from the budget last year--
I do everything myself now.
There's no extra money,
at all, so...
Could you do me a favor?
Can you put a letterhead
- in the printer for me?
- Right.
I was thinking that if I did
more of the cleaning up,
that you could do more
of the pastor work.
Well, cleaning up the church,
you know,
making sure the lights work,
getting here early
to turn on the heat,
- that is part of what
pastors do. -And the trash?
What's that?
Garbage, I guess.
these were written
in confidence.
You shouldn't have these.
My sister doesn't think
that she's important enough
for God to notice her.
Seeing you throw these requests
away like they're nothing...
Well, Wesley, hey,
come on, wait a minute.
If I kept every request
that was put
into that prayer box, I-I...
God knows
what people write down.
He does.
I just...
I don't need to be
in the middle of it.
This is a stupid thing.
It's so stupid, because this
just makes people feel better.
That's all.
It really is.
Why are you here, Wesley?
I told you.
I need a job.
And you're using
people's requests as leverage?
All that I know
is that you need help
and I need a job.
Okay, Wesley.
But it's gonna be manual labor.
Windows. Vacuuming.
Light bulbs.
Spiderwebs. Everything.
- And the trash?
- And the trash.
Okay. When can you start?
I'm available starting now.
Well, then let's get to work.
Watch. Get it. Jump!
Aw. Okay.
Here it comes again.
Now, this time, tap left, left,
then jump.
I'm no good at this.
I brought you something.
Can't. It'll make
my stomach hurt.
But it's your favorite.
And I bought it
with my own money.
- You don't have any money.
- Do now.
Got a job.
- Does Mom know?
- No.
And she's not going to. Right?
The church.
Cleaning stuff up.
That sounds fun. Why?
Well, I told you--
I'm out to get God's attention,
and I figured that,
well, if I work at a church
scrubbing toilets,
He might notice me.
I'm pretty sure that's dumb.
Maybe. But...
you know, Mom also needed
some extra help, so...
Don't mess it up.
I'm taking this.
Help you find anything?
Yes. I'm looking for a gift.
Boy about six or seven.
- Maybe a toy? -We don't
really stock a lot of toys.
Did you try the toy store
over on Main?
Let's just say that's
a little out of my price range.
- Okay. How much you got?
- Um, here you go...
Ten bucks.
- Let me show you what
I have in that range. -Thanks.
Have a look--
this is about all I got.
Okay. Thank you.
Um... no.
Hey, forgot to mention,
all that clearance
- is an extra 30% off.
- Thanks.
Hey, nice find.
You wrap?
- I can give you a box.
- Okay.
And some string
to tie around it.
- Yeah, that'll work.
- Okay.
Comes to $9.84.
- Here you go.
- Okay.
Wait here a minute.
This was part of a set,
but everything got separated,
and we can't really sell it
- Thanks.
- No problem, kid.
Hope he likes it.
You're still here?
Thought you were
coming home last night.
Me, too.
She was begging me to stay,
and she started coughing,
so I couldn't just leave her.
I'm sorry,
I know I should have called,
but it got really late.
I'm gonna go hop in the shower
and then head back.
Billy Wells called me
He was yammering on and on
about you helping him paint
the old chapel on Saturday,
and wanted me to tell you
to bring some paint clothes.
He went on and on
and said he'd pay you extra...
- Pay me extra?
- Yes, and he also said
that you've been working for
Pastor Conlin? Is that true?
- Well?
- Well what?
You ever consider
asking me first?
We need things around here.
Groceries, laundry soap.
My lunch account
hasn't been paid in weeks.
Well, they
can't refuse you a meal.
Yeah, but it's
pretty embarrassing.
I mean, with just
a little bit of money,
I could pay for my lunch
and I could get milk
- without even bugging you.
- I know things are tight
and we've cut back,
but you're a kid,
and you should be
doing homework and...
and hanging out
with your friends-- I mean,
I haven't seen you with one
of your friends in months.
Yeah, because nobody wants
to hang out with the poor kid
whose sister has cancer.
Well, what about baseball?
You love baseball.
Why aren't you telling me
anything about your games?
Maybe because there
are no games.
You forgot to send
the permission sheet
on sign-up days.
Wesley, I am so...
I have to meet the doctor
this morning.
I am hoping it's about a trial.
I am praying
he has a miracle for us.
Are you really?
- Am I really what?
- Praying for a miracle.
Or is that
just something you say?
I don't have time for this.
Don't miss the bus.
There's your lunch money.
It's all I've got
until next week.
- I can take care of myself.
- Wesley?
Hey, Olivia.
I told you
not to worry about that.
Yeah, and I told you
that I'd pay you back.
That's it. Now we're square.
I just wanted
to pay you back, okay?
Look, I know Pastor Conlin
has brought you on
for some extra help,
but this morning...
you work for me.
- You got it?
- Yes, sir.
Now, fixing up this old chapel
is a project I've been meaning
to do for a long time.
Really? I didn't even know
they still used this place
after they built
the new sanctuary.
They don't. That's why I want
to fix this old girl up.
Now, first...
we got to do some scraping
and some sanding.
Let me show you. Come on.
You see this?
That's all got to come off
before we make it
look pretty again.
Now, we're gonna be here
till June
if you don't learn to put
a little bit more into it.
What's so special
about this old building anyway?
my daddy helped build
this church.
I kind of felt like
it was my duty
to help keep it up
after all these years.
I see an old nail...
and I wonder
if his hands drove it in.
Or I see the smooth edges
of a pew and...
wonder if he smoothed it
and shaped it.
But mostly...
I've been coming here
to meet God my whole life.
I wonder sometimes
if He looks down and...
sees this place and says...
"Now, that's a joint
I wouldn't mind spending
some time in."
You think it works?
Well... guess lots of folks
would probably say
it's been a while
since we seen last of Him.
But if Heaven opened up
and He showed up tomorrow,
I'd at least like it to look
as if we were expecting Him.
You know, if I were God,
I would only hold meetings
with people on beaches.
Maybe... maybe
some baseball fields.
But mostly beaches.
Mabel sends her regards...
and a peace offering.
You put me in a bad spot
with her.
give her about two more weeks.
She's slow to anger,
but slower to forgive.
She also wanted me
to ask you about...
your sister.
Well, my mom
doesn't tell me much.
What I do know
is that she had a meeting
with the doctor
yesterday, and...
well, if it was good news,
I think I'd already know.
I'm sorry.
Do you know anyone
who's ever died?
Did they suffer?
Some did.
And some who I thought
were surely dying
got a lot better.
So, look,
after you're done with that,
it's the end
of your shift with me.
- Why?
- Well, I told the pastor
I'd free you up...
so you could tend to your
other work by this afternoon.
If God does show up tomorrow,
it's the inside of the church
that'll matter the most.
Tell Mrs. Wells thanks.
I will.
I almost forgot.
This is for you.
Thank you.
You do good work.
Hold up.
I put a little extra in there.
I want you to pay off
your lunch account at school.
Consider that an advance
on the rest of the work
I want done around here.
Olivia told you?
Conversations between me
and my granddaughter
are none of your business.
Now, go ahead, take it.
You know, you got a special
girl looking out for you.
Thanks, Mr. Wells.
- See you.
- See you.
on the everlasting arms
Leaning, leaning
Safe and secure
from all alarms
Leaning, leaning
on the everlasting arms.
That was just beautiful.
I love that song, don't you?
Let's have a seat, please.
Pastor, I'm-I'm sorry. Um...
I need to share something.
Please, sure.
Last week when I came in,
I had two dollars
in my checking account,
which isn't that unusual,
but my son's birthday was
coming up in a couple days.
And when I put a request
in that box,
I honestly thought
nothing would happen.
And on the night
of Evan's birthday,
someone put a package
at my door.
And who would have known
Evan had been asking
for a baseball mitt?
Only a baseball mitt.
God sent them, I know.
I know this.
And for the first time
in a long, long time,
I have hope and I feel seen.
And I just want to tell God
that I'm grateful.
Well, thank you for sharing.
And I think
that's exactly the kind
of encouragement we need
to head into our time
of prayer.
Hey, Eldredge.
- What's up, Derek?
- Where you been?
You playing fall ball
this year?
Just had to take
the season off, okay?
Just family stuff.
So that's why Coach pulled you
off the bench, Hendricks.
What you working on?
Just a project thing.
You got a game today?
Got rained out. Stuck inside.
Why you seem so busy?
It's a love letter, guys.
Must be to that cute girl
in math.
He stares at her all the time.
Come on, guys.
Coach is waiting on us.
Hey, stay loose, Eldredge.
Hendricks is killing us.
Those guys are so annoying.
What are you doing here?
It was a half-day
at school today.
Open house tonight.
Why does she sound like that?
This little girl.
My baby.
I told her to trust me.
Like I knew what I was doing.
Called every doctor,
begged every specialist.
They all said she'd beat it.
She will.
I told her how strong she was.
She is.
She is so strong.
But I didn't fight hard enough.
Yes, you did.
I didn't.
And now it's...
and now it's gonna take
a miracle.
How do I tell her?
She already knows.
Nurse! Nurse!
Mom, what's happening?
I couldn't believe it.
It was... it was amazing.
They call me and say we qualify
for their assistance program.
Just like that,
our bill is gone.
A miracle.
Praise God.
Thank you, Margaret.
I don't know
what's been going on here
the last couple of weeks.
This keeps up, we may need
the old chapel for overflow.
Some of your faces
I haven't seen in months.
Years for some of you.
Next Saturday we're painting
the church steeple.
- 9:00 a.m.
- And, Penny, welcome back.
And you, Peter.
I'm honored to have you here
this morning.
And I know your mother's
especially happy.
It's you.
Excuse me?
What's me?
They all think God
is doing something special
with that little prayer box
up there.
I can't figure out why.
Now, you thought I was wrong
for throwing away
those prayer requests,
but tricking people
into thinking God
is doing miracles?
That's a different kind
of betrayal, Wesley.
That's the same kind of wrong.
You see,
people really don't care
whether it's God or the kid
who cleans the toilet
is answering their requests.
They're getting their hope.
You should be happy.
Your church is always full.
Have you told anyone
about this?
Of course not.
With more people coming in
on Sunday,
I can only assume
that the offering plates
are, well,
a little bit more full,
and I can use an allowance.
I'm already pulling money out
of our small
miscellaneous fund,
and the rest of your paycheck
- is coming out of my pocket.
- I'm sorry.
But it's not for me.
It's for the prayer requests.
Some of these requests,
I need money to answer them.
Wesley, I can't do it.
Should we just go back
to the way things used to be
and tell everyone
it was a fake?
Should we do that?
For those of you who still
think homework is an option,
these test scores
may tell a different story.
Bring these back tomorrow
with your parents' signatures.
I mean it
about parent signatures.
I'm counting it
as a homework assignment.
Hey, what's up?
I was waiting for you.
I heard your sister...
- That she's...
- Yep.
What can we do?
Do you need anything?
Well, I need for my sister
not to die.
Well, I've been praying,
- and so many people...
- Yeah. Yeah, I bet.
Bet they have.
I'm sorry.
You sure that's safe?
Well, it wouldn't be any fun
if it was safe.
I wasn't sure you'd make it.
- It's okay if you need to...
- No, no.
I'm just in the way
at the hospital.
I'm sure that that is not true.
But I'm glad you're here.
So, what can I carry up
for you?
Well, you are earthbound today.
But you'll be my supply man.
I don't want
to stay down here all day.
The action's
all up there, so...
Plenty of years ahead
for action.
For now I owe it to your mom
to keep you safe.
Yes, sir.
How's it coming
with that paint?
Still mixing.
When was the last time
you did this?
I don't know.
Probably 20 years
at this point.
This place hasn't been painted
in 20 years?
I didn't say that.
I said I haven't painted it
in 20 years.
Then who has?
My son, for one.
Then why isn't he
painting it now?
He died.
About eight years ago now.
Car accident.
Olivia just turned four.
Worst day of my life.
Olivia's dad is...
Her mom remarried.
Greg's a good man.
He loves Olivia,
and we are thankful for that.
I'm sorry.
- I didn't know.
- Yeah.
Me, too.
Hang on, please.
God, please help me.
I'll be right back.
You're gonna be okay.
I need transport.
What do you got?
Male, 70s, non-responsive.
Possible head injury.
- Where was he? -Church roof.
Kid said the ladder fell.
All right,
let's get him in ASAP.
Are you okay?
Yes, ma'am.
Well, don't worry,
we'll take good care of him.
My grandfather thought
you might be here.
Says you should've
been watching
the ladder more closely.
I'm gonna kill him.
My grandmother
may beat you to it.
I'm sorry I was so rude
to you.
That's okay.
I didn't know about your dad.
Y-Your grandfather,
he told me.
I always thought
that your dad was...
you know, your real dad.
His smile made me feel
That's what I remember.
You must have his smile, then.
My mom's in the car out front
if you want a ride home.
Yeah, thanks.
Good morning.
I'm gonna go with you
to church.
I feel like it.
Leaving in 15 minutes, okay?
Why are you really doing this?
Well, Billy Wells came
to see me
in Mallory's room last night.
But how? He's, like, dead.
I swear he is
the most stubborn man
- I have ever met.
- Yeah.
First he wanted me
to go visit him,
which Mallory was not having
a good night,
so I politely declined.
And then, 30 minutes later--
I don't know how he
convinced them,
he must have broken
every single
hospital rule there is--
but he had the nurse
wheel him down
to Mallory's room.
He was flat on his back,
on the hospital bed
with another nurse,
with the cart,
with the monitor and the IVs.
I am not making this up.
It was the craziest thing
I have ever seen.
I'd be surprised if the nurses
have a job this morning.
All I know is, by the time...
by the time the nurses wheeled
him back to his room,
I promised him I'd go
to church today.
And that's why
you're doing this?
He's a nut job.
Yet here we are.
Praise Him, praise Him
Tell of His excellent
Praise Him, praise Him
Ever in joyful song.
Where did all these people
come from?
Just started showing up.
Let's thank God
for His goodness.
As many of you know,
Billy Wells took
a terrible fall yesterday
as he was painting
the old chapel.
He's got some long days
of recovery ahead of him,
but we'll keep him
in our prayers.
We also want to remember
Mallory Eldredge.
It's good to have her mother
here with us this morning.
Do you have a-an update on her?
You know, well,
it's been tough.
We were hoping to get her
in a clinical trial,
but it's not looking good.
She's still fighting and,
you know, we're not giving up.
She's been so strong,
but this thing has been
really aggressive,
so, you know, we're...
And how are you, Mrs. Eldredge?
I'm scared, that's all.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
The prayer box is now open.
Please come forward.
This is for Mallory.
Thank you.
Why'd you leave?
Why'd you stay?
I haven't felt that
in a long time.
I don't know.
Listen, I've got
to get to work.
Please see your sister later.
She's been asking for you.
- Okay.
- Okay?
It's not gonna be long.
I'll clear it out.
They're all for your sister.
I'll do it.
I used to really believe
in prayer, you know.
I mean, of course,
it's my job--
pray for people--
but beyond the obligation
of it,
I really... believed.
I prayed with the expectation
that you could...
grab hold of heaven and...
actually change the world.
Why'd you stop?
The seemingly randomness
of it all.
Are we changing God?
Is God changing us?
Is a cosmic slot machine
really the best way to do it?
It's a box of slips asking God
to heal Mallory.
Maybe He'll say yes.
But probably He won't.
And that bothers me.
Maybe we're doing this
all wrong.
I imagine so.
I prayed for Mr. Wells
I didn't mean to,
it just came out.
It probably helped.
You need to stop saying things
just because you think
it's the right thing to say.
You're probably right.
Where have you been?
I'm sorry.
You shouldn't be talking.
You've been telling me that
since I was two.
Don't do that.
I tried, Mal.
I really did.
I tried to get God to notice us
like we talked about.
I promise I did.
I felt Him today.
You did?
He was here with me.
You saw Him?
Felt Him.
A lot of people prayed
at church today.
I think He heard them.
He didn't let Mr. Wells die.
I really do think He's
starting to notice us.
Just hang in
a little bit longer, okay?
Okay, big brother.
I love you.
I'm not giving up on you,
Do you hear me?
Let her sleep.
Why won't God
just help her already?
Maybe He did today.
What? By-- she felt something
in her heart?
I mean, that's not enough,
it's not helping her, okay?
It's not time yet.
She had her last dose two...
The doctor is upping her dose.
- He wants her comfortable.
- But...
Wesley, where are you going?
Don't know yet.
Hey! Hey!
Hey, kid. Hey, kid.
What are you doing out
of your room?
I'm not going back
to my room.
We've been looking
all over for you.
Look, everybody just
simmer down.
Do you ever do
what you're told to?
Mr. Wells, you have to stop
trying to leave your room.
I'm just a broken,
crazy old guy
who can't be blamed
for my behavior.
What are you doing?
Try that again and we'll have
to restrain you.
I mean it.
Now that I better understand
the rules,
I'll be on my best behavior.
What's going on?
Apparently, your husband
fashions himself
as an escape artist.
For crying out loud, Billy.
I leave for one cup
of coffee...
It's the meds, dear.
Making me do bad things.
Sure they are.
And you?
You two are nothing
but trouble together.
The kid had nothing
to do with it.
Well, it was good to see you,
but I really need to go.
You know,
we heard about Mallory.
Our hearts are with you,
I went searching for you
'cause I got something to say.
Let the boy be with his family.
this is important.
No more joking around.
Right before that gust of wind
took me out,
well, I...
I had an epiphany.
A realization.
An understanding.
That day you went down
to the altar and prayed,
the day Pastor Conlin
rushed you along,
something happened that day.
Your prayer was pure.
I could see it in your face.
You brought a fresh wind
into that church
where old folks like me
have been praying
for too long
about achy knees and...
You prayed from your soul
that day and we all noticed.
Maybe even God noticed
because things have changed
around that place that day.
I've been working
on sprucing up
the outside of an old
building, but you...
but you cleaned us up
on the inside
just by believing
without all the hang-ups.
That's not true.
Don't argue with a man who
just looked death in the face.
I know things.
Wesley, don't let anybody
look down on you
because you're young.
You set an example
for the believers in speech,
in conduct, in love,
in faith and purity.
You ever heard that?
No, sir.
you look it up,
because you're doing that.
You are setting the example.
That's what I wanted to say.
The end.
I'm done.
I hope you get better,
Mr. Wells.
Call me Billy,
for crying out loud.
Okay, okay.
Fine. Billy.
Pray for me, okay?
Everyone is.
Here you go.
Have a good trip.
How can I help you tonight?
Need a ticket to Memphis.
- By yourself?
- It's not for me.
Not for tonight, either.
Traveling when?
- Returning?
- Monday, I guess.
Passenger name?
Here you go.
Here you go. Next?
Hey, day care's
down the street, kid.
Come on, kid.
You can't be in here.
Okay, see that guy over there
in the blue shirt?
See him right there
in the blue shirt?
Need you to give this
to him, okay?
Have fun.
Excuse me?
Do know where Ramona is?
Thank you.
Yes, that's all for now.
Thank you.
- How'd you get in here?
- There a lot
- of kids like me?
- Meaning?
Can't afford
to pay their lunch bill?
You know
it's not their fault, right?
It's actually
pretty embarrassing.
I'm sure it is,
but if they would just
have their parents come in
and fill out the paperwork
and do the things
that they need to...
I'm not sure
how far this will go,
but can you please use this
to pay off
all the kids' lunch debt?
Where'd you get that?
Just take it.
And please don't be so mean
to hungry kids.
See me.
Why can't You see me?!
Where are You?
What more can I do?
I've been looking everywhere
for you.
- I'm sorry.
- No.
I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry.
I'm sorry.
It's time.
"But Jesus called the children
"to Him and said,
"'Let the little
children come to me,
"'and do not hinder them,
"for the kingdom of God
belongs to such as these.'
"Truly I tell you,
"anyone who will not receive
the kingdom of God
like a little child
will never enter it."
Pastor Conlin sent this over.
What is this?
- t's nothing.
- Wesley,
this looks like
people's prayer requests.
Why do you have these?
I told you, it's nothing.
I buried my daughter today.
I have nothing,
nothing left for this.
So I'm gonna ask you
one more time, okay?
Why do you have these?
This is proof that God did
nothing to help Mallory.
It's proof
that prayer is a stupid joke
that keeps stupid people
from taking responsibility
for their own lives.
It's proof
that He doesn't see us,
He's not coming,
and that He doesn't even care.
You did this?
You answered
all these people's prayers?
Why? Why would you do this?
Promised Mallory
I'd get God's attention.
I promised her
that I'd get Him to notice us,
so I did His job for Him.
I did
Pastor Conlin's job, too.
I answered all of these
requests, making people think
that God was listening.
I got all these people
coming back to church,
thinking that He was,
you know, helping and caring.
Wesley, come here.
You have to tell people
what you've done.
I will never go back
to that church.
You're a good son,
and you were the best brother,
but you're not a liar.
And you may have had
your reasons,
but these people--
they deserve the truth.
Why does anything matter
at this point?
It doesn't matter anymore.
That's for them to decide
what matters.
They won't understand
why I did this.
I don't even understand
why I did any of this.
Thanks for meeting me
out here.
I figured
you could use a little break.
And maybe a friend.
I was only four years old
when my dad died.
I was so young
that I don't know
which of my memories are real,
and which are just stories
I've always heard.
So I don't pretend
to know what it's like...
Please don't.
I really can't handle
an inspiring lecture right now.
Just don't.
No lecture,
but watching your sister die--
you'll never get over it,
and anyone who tells you
otherwise is a liar.
Please, Wesley, talk to me.
Fine. You want to talk?
Well, then I got a question
for you.
Do you still hate God?
Will I always hate Him?
That's what
I really want to know.
God didn't kill my dad.
Didn't keep him alive, either.
No, but if nothing bad
ever happened,
how would I really know
that I could trust Him
to take care of me?
He did, you know.
He took care
of my mom and me.
And then He brought
my new stepdad.
That's nice for you.
So that's it?
Yup. I guess.
Wesley, please.
Are you just gonna go around
being mean
the rest of your life,
blame God and throw rocks,
because, poor you,
you're the only one
that's had
something bad happen?
I did what everyone
said to do, okay?
Have faith, pray hard,
do all the right things.
What more do you want from me?
I don't want anything from you.
Why do you keep
following me around?
I'm sorry for thinking
you need a friend.
- I don't.
- I think you do.
Why can't you just leave me
I won't.
I want to, but I won't.
I will walk with you,
I'll wait with you,
I'll even hit rocks with you.
Whatever you need, I'm here.
So I'll cherish
The old rugged cross
Till my trophies
At last I lay down
I will cling
To the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday
For a crown.
This life is...
not always easy, is it?
It's all the clichs,
all the thorns in the side,
the detours, the derailments,
the ditches.
I don't talk about this often
somewhere along the line,
I bought the lie
that pastors shouldn't burden
their people
with their own mess.
When I lost my wife and child
in a complicated delivery
four and a half years ago,
I made a decision to never
be that vulnerable again.
I haven't just paid the price
for that.
You have, too.
You see, for some time now,
you've been led by a pastor
who couldn't bear
to truly walk with you
in your needs, in your pain
because of his own brokenness
anger... toward God.
An anger
that made it impossible
to share with you
a God who knows you,
a God who loves you.
And so I relied on formulas
and prescripted orders
of service.
I checked the boxes,
I made sure
that we went
through the motions,
and I hoped that somehow,
on your own time,
you were getting
whatever you needed from God.
And then this boy
named Wesley Eldredge
came into my office,
he sat down,
and he called me a hypocrite.
He also told me
that I didn't believe...
I didn't believe
that God cared anything
about you
or your prayer requests.
And he was right.
And I was humiliated,
and I was scared and mad...
...that someone had dared
to expose the truth
about who I really am.
We need to tell you
all something, Wesley and I.
Really, it's only me
who should be confessing,
but in his mother's
great wisdom,
she asked that Wesley
be present for this.
I insisted, however,
that you hear this story
from me.
I owe him this.
I owe you this, Wesley.
This was
Mallory's favorite place.
She loved it here.
I was so proud of you today.
I know it wasn't easy
sitting through that.
And even though I don't agree
with how you did it,
nothing changes the fact that
you did help a lot of people.
Feels like I haven't been
outside in six months.
Haven't seen the sun
or even felt a breeze.
I'm gonna go back to work soon.
A few days, actually.
I don't want you to think
that I'm acting like
everything's back to normal.
I can't ever imagine
feeling normal again.
But I'm going crazy at home.
Every time I pass her room...
I need the distraction.
And the bills.
Are you trying to ask
my permission or something?
I didn't want you to think
I was trying
to move on too quickly,
you know?
Do whatever you want.
I will spend
the rest of my life
with the anguish
of losing a child.
I don't want to lose two.
You haven't lost two.
Wesley, I really need
to ask you
to please forgive me.
I know I will never be
the same mom that I was before.
I'm beat up and broken
and really, really sad.
But I love you.
And I love how hard
you fought for Mallory.
I mean, who has the nerve
to chase God the way you did?
My son does.
And you know what?
In those last few days,
I know that God came
into Mallory's room.
I felt it.
I can't explain it.
It was just such a holy place.
I know He was there.
Then why isn't He here now?
I don't feel Him
or see Him anywhere.
Why does He have
to make everything so hard?
Wouldn't it be so much easier
if He just showed up
every now and then?
I don't know.
You're throwing rocks
at my house?
I couldn't make it up the steps
in this dumb thing
in order to ring the doorbell.
So, pebbles.
Understated yet effective.
You know,
it's a bad time, so...
Well, of course it is.
But I'm an old man
who can't afford
the consideration of time.
So come here.
I got some things to say.
You got one minute.
All right, so here it is.
Now, you got to pay attention.
Now, you've been
running around,
trying to get God to notice you
with these noble acts of...
k-kindness and courtesy.
And we all hear the story
and we think,
"Poor kid."
But God never loses sight
of us,
not for one moment.
We're the ones
who lose sight of Him,
because we fight
to stay out of the places
that He most... hangs out.
You want to find God?
Walk through the Valley
of Death
with your eyes wide open.
You've joined
a prestigious club
I like to call
the Grateful Limpers.
This is the greatest pain
of your life.
But I speak from experience--
God is near.
You will never forget
losing your sister.
And you'll always walk
with a limp because of it.
If you let it,
that limp will...
let you know God's grace
all around you.
You're gonna see Him
the way that people with
perfect, happy lives never do.
Keep your eyes open.
I got it.
I heard that.
Yeah, good.
It's meant for you, too.
One more thing.
The steeple-- finish it.
- I already quit.
- Finish it.
I paid you in advance,
You owe me.
Now, I'll have some guys there
two Saturdays from now to help.
But you're in charge.
Yes, sir.
Hey, Wesley. How's it going?
Doing okay, I guess.
Hey, I'm sorry
about your sister.
Guess that's why you weren't
playing this season?
So, Eldredge,
we hear you're, like,
a secret prayer agent.
- Not me.
- No, no,
- that's what they're saying.
- All right,
- that's enough, Tony.
- No, Derek, this is good stuff.
So, how does it work?
Someone writes it down
and slips it in your magic box
and then you sneak out
at night?
I mean, this is fantastic.
Do you wear a costume?
A cape? A mask?
I said that's enough, Tony.
I got it.
See what you can do with this,
I'm gonna ask Olivia
to the dance.
I'm gonna write it down right
here and pray she says yes.
Get it? Praying?
That's enough.
- What are you doing?
- He didn't start it.
You didn't deserve this.
Are you okay?
- I'm fine.
- You need ice.
I'm fine.
Hold on, young man.
School called and said
you were coming back early.
What happened?
Wesley, come on.
Get down here, please.
What happened to your face?
Like I said, nothing.
Come on.
Let me take a look
in the kitchen.
Does it hurt?
I don't want to talk about it
right now. I'm fine.
Are you sure? Maybe I should
take you to get it checked out.
Yes, I'm sure.
Why can't people
stop asking me this?
The nurse
already checked it out, okay?
Can I go up to my room already?
there's something
I want to show you.
I went to the hospital today.
- Why? -They found some of
Mallory's things in a drawer.
It's drawings and notes
and stuff.
But I haven't been able
to go up there,
wasn't ready, until today.
I wanted you to see this.
"Dear God..."
No. I said I don't want
to hear it, okay?
Wesley, please.
"My brother told me
I'm the bravest girl
he knows, but that's only
because You let me have him..." a big brother.
Even when he's super annoying,
I've always known
that nothing can go wrong
with him looking out for me.
I need to ask You
to please take care of him,
because I don't think
he believes in You anymore.
He's very stubborn, and You
might have to work extra hard
to make sure he knows
that You are real
and that You love him
very much.
- Also, God...
- "Also, God,
"please help my mom
not to cry so much.
"So I guess, in closing,
"I'm asking You
to look over my family.
It looks like you got
one more prayer request.
Chase! Chase!
Chase! Chase! Chase!
Chase! Chase! Chase! Chase!
Chase! Chase!
Go! Come on, come on!
Hold up, hold up, hold up!
He'll be so glad you're here.
Hit the ball!
Go, go, go!
Maybe next time.
I'm gonna go talk to him.
That was a tough hop.
You know, it's almost
impossible to field a hit
like that.
I mean, coming right at you--
could've bounced any other way.
I looked away from it.
Should've stayed with it.
I know better.
Hey, you're playing
a game of baseball, right?
- What?
- Well,
you're out here
playing a game of ball
with a real team
and real uniforms and you're
in the middle of a real game.
- Right?
- Yeah.
That's pretty awesome.
You just can't forget
that you love that, okay?
Evan, you're up.
You got it, Evan. You got it.
Come on,
come on, come on!
Come on, come on, come on!
Go, go, go! Go, go, go!
I'll get the trim
- if you get the wall.
- Okay.
What is all this?
This is the help
that I promised you.
Yep. Let's get to work.
Don't you want to come
and join us?
I like watching everything
from up here.
Can I sit with you?
Yeah, just watch out
for the wet paint.
So, where you been all day?
Thought I'd come
once all the work was done.
Think we did a pretty good job,
You know they're
probably gonna tear it down
to make room
for the new Children's Center.
What? No, no, no. But
your grandfather, he told me
to work on this so that
we could start using it again.
It's all a big, made-up project
to give you something to do.
So why wouldn't
you tell me that?
No point, really.
He'd just come up
with another plan.
You know my gramps--
stubborn as can be.
I don't know how to say this.
What already?
Okay, you're gonna think
I'm crazy.
No, I won't.
I saw God today.
And I came over here to think
about it a little bit more,
so that I could always remember
what it felt like.
That's not what
I expected you to say.
It was an epiphany.
A realization,
an understanding.
I know what an epiphany means.
All those people down there...
...they're really messed up.
what I mean is,
they're all down there working
and sweating
and telling stories,
stories about
every single terrible thing
that's happened in their lives.
It's pretty depressing
at first.
But then it occurred to me
that these stories are
telling how God's helped them.
They're telling His story.
Ms. Clemons
says that God is never late.
Brad? Brad,
well, he knows a God
that can get him a new job.
And Penny and her husband,
they know a God
that can fix a relationship.
See that guy down there?
He's trying to figure out
why God never failed on him.
And then there's
your crazy old grandpa, but...
he cries every single time
that he thinks about...
how God knows what it's like
to lose a son.
You put all of that together,
and it suddenly seems
like that tiny God
that you think you can control
becomes bigger and bigger
and bigger
and more amazing.
You got all of that
while painting an old church?
I kept wanting God to see me,
but I finally saw Him today.
Is that even possible?
All those people down there,
none of 'em realize
that God is with them.
He's here.
And I think
they should know that.
maybe you should tell them.
Like, now?
Sure. Why not?
Who's gonna believe
a 13-year-old?
I will.
Come on.
Want to get something to eat?
Yeah. Let's go.
I see You.
I see You.