Monday, February 10, 2014

An Overheard Prayer

I heard her before I saw what was happening.  She and another woman were seated in the next booth at a local eatery.  You have probably been where I was.  Her voice was so strong and carried so well that I had to make a conscious decision to tune her out in order to carry on the conversation at our table.  Suddenly, I became aware she was no longer just talking, but praying.  When I looked over, I saw that she had reached across the table joining hands with her eating partner.  Her eyes were closed and she was looking upward as she prayed with a whispered voice which was getting louder and then a little louder and then even more so.  The longer she prayed the more fervent and the more intense the prayer became, making any quiet conversation all but impossible.
Now, I have no problem with people praying in public.  I suppose you could say I have made a living out of it on Sunday morning from the pulpit.  You can add to those worship prayers, several thousand prayers to start and end meetings!  And, I have offered prayers for another in public places such as restaurants or grocery stores.  Sometimes it is simply something that becomes appropriate to do and it is done.  Those who pass by or overhear are either annoyed or they understand.  Of course, there are surely some who are fine with people praying, but feel that it is better done in some setting a bit more out of the way than out there in the market place for anyone to see or  hear.

While most of our praying is done away from overhearing ears, there are always those moments when faithfulness requires praying aloud for someone in the market place.  Jesus prayed midst the mourners at the grave of Lazarus.   He even prayed from the cross.  The disciples learned about praying not just by hearing the teachings, but by watching and hearing the Teacher pray.  The Word does caution us not to pray to be seen and heard by others, but such a judgment is not for anyone of us to pass.  Only the Father to whom the prayer is offered can see and know what is truly in the heart.

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