Outside of praying with my kids at the dinner table or at bed time, I don’t pray out loud. At least not with other people around. Partly because my conversations with God are a very personal thing and I don’t want to call attention to myself. And partly because I feel like I sound less than adequate when I pray out loud. It’s like I imagine the people listening to me pray would be thinking, “Wow. She totally doesn’t know how to pray right,” or “Um, yeah, I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t have said it like that.”
However, there are times when instead of talking to God, we hear Him speak to us. Sometimes it’s a whisper and other times it comes through loud and clear. Dont get me wrong, it’s not like suddenly the clouds part and Morgan Freeman’s voice starts echoing in your mind. It’s that voice inside you that sounds a lot like your own and tells you right from wrong.
A few weeks ago, toward the beginning of this challenge, I blogged about my Good Friday nail salon experience. What I didn’t write about was what happened after I got out of the pedicure chair.
I’ll start from the beginning. If you read “F is for Friday, Finally” then you know I almost left the nail salon when I found out about the wait. But during my 30 minute wait, I was approached by a very beautiful older lady. She was very well put together and her makeup was flawless. She was someone you would assume had it all together by looking at her; not a problem in the world.
She sat next to me as I toyed with my iPhone. She told me she accidentally left her phone at home and asked if she could use mine to call her daughter. I, of course, said yes. She didn’t reach anyone so she asked to make a second call to her husband so he wouldn’t be concerned if he couldn’t reach her on her cell. Again, I gave her my phone to use.
After her call to her husband, she asked for my advice on nail color. We talked about the party she was going to and what she was going to wear. When we were done picking her color, it was my turn to hop in the massage chair and we parted ways.
But not for long.
When my toes were drying, she approached me again and requested one more phone call. She dialed her husband, this time her face looked a little concerned as she got off the phone.
As she handed me the phone back, she said, “Oh, I think I woke him from his nap…he’s going through chemo right now.”
And then I heard Him.
“Pray,” He said.
I thought, “Yes. right, pray for them. Got it.”
So I asked her his name so I could pray for him and she told me his name. To which I said, “I will be praying for y’all.” She thanked me and walked away to her manicure station.
And then it went like this…
God: “No. Don’t pray for her. Pray with her.”
Me: “Wait, what?! Ohhh, no, I can’t do that. I don’t pray out loud. With people–strangers–In the middle of nail salons.”
God: “Pray with her.”
In my arrogance, I found myself negotiating with God, giving myself a way out of it, as if there’s any bossing the Maker of the Universe.
Me: “Ok, If she’s still here when I’m done. Then I’ll pray with her,” (she was still there).
Then it was, ” Ok, if we make eye contact when I’m leaving. Then I’ll pray with her,” (we didn’t).
Whew, I thought I was off the hook. But then there was a line at the register, so I waited. Then the credit card machine froze up, and I waited.
I thought, “Fine. I’ll do it.”
I told the lady at the cash register I’d be right back and walked over, kneeled down, and said, “You’re probably going to think I’m nuts, but can I pray with you?”
She smiled and welcomed the idea. So, I prayed with her. I don’t remember exactly the words I used; they didn’t seem like mine.
I thanked her for allowing me to pray with her, she thanked me in return and we said goodbye.
And when I walked back up to the cash register, my receipt and a pen were sitting on the counter waiting for me as if to say, “There. Now you can go.”
I went back and forth over whether or not I should publish this post. If there’s anything I want you to get from reading this, it isn’t that I prayed with a stranger in public. Because it isn’t about me. I hope reading this reminds you that even people who seem like they have it all together still need prayers. I hope this post encourages you to pray with/for a stranger who needs it and, most of all, I hope it encourages you to listen to God’s voice. It’s always there, we just have to listen.
I’m participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge April 2012. Go check it out–you may find a new favorite blog!