Friday, November 25, 2011
Praying for Strangers
Today is Black Friday, as it's known; the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. I believe the name is supposed to imply the day that retailers go from being in the red to crossing over to the black-making a profit. As I watch some of the madness unfold on TV of people camping out for a week on a sidewalk so they can be the first person inside to buy a $200.00 flat screen television, or folks getting trampled as they all try to squeeze inside the store at once, or as I saw this morning some lady spraying pepper spray on her fellow shoppers, I wonder if Black Friday wouldn't describe the condition of some of the hearts of the folks who are rushing to celebrate a season that is supposed to be about good will towards men. How ironic.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm terribly cynical, a real pessimist; the male version of a Debbie Downer if you will. I almost always seem to see the glass half empty. No matter how good the situation I'm facing, I have a tendency to spot the possible down side. " Hello Mr. Botts, this is Publisher's Clearing House. You've just won $5,000,000." "Well, gee, that's great, but how much tax is this going to cost me?" No doubt I would be worried about all the scam artists and new found and unwanted friends I would suddenly encounter and would worry myself sick about it. That's kind of the way I am. I wish I wasn't, but I am.I claim to be a Christian and yet at times I seem to be anything but. How ironic.Because that's my nature, I need to surround myself with uplifting, positive things on a regular basis.Soooo... I was happy to find this book at the library a few weeks or maybe a month ago; ok maybe even longer, I know it's overdue. Anyway, I liked the cover art, and when I looked at the title I liked it too. Then I looked at the name of the author- River Jordan. What a great name. How could I not read this book?In a nutshell, it's about a gal whose two son's were in the military in 2008. One was going to be sent to Iraq and one to Afganistan. As a Christian woman she was, of course, going to pray for her boys, but then she got the thought for a New Years resolution. She was going to pray for a different person every day, a stranger. The book documents many of the encounters she had with the various people. In almost every case the folks she came across were grateful for her prayers. Most of them had something in particular that they wanted prayer for, family members, illness, finances. The needs are endless in all of our lives. Her book was enlightening and encouraging. If all of us were to just say a prayer for the stranger we pass on the street or instead of cursing at the TV when a politian we don't like comes on,we asked that God would grant that person wisdom and integrity, I sincerely believe we could change the direction that the world is going. I probably have mentioned Pastor Jeff Schreve of From His Heart Ministry on this blog before. On his web site you can scroll down to a link called Prayer Works. There you have an opportunity to say a prayer for the different needs of folks who have asked for divine intervention. Though we can't all volunteer for the many worthwhile projects the world over, or send money to the countless poor across the earth, we can all say a prayer for someone in need. As the book pointed out, because we're human, we can all use a prayer or two. All that being said, please don't expect that overnight I'll become this grateful,happy, extroverted optimist. I kind of doubt that's going to happen, but I could certainly be a little less cynical and a little more hopeful about the future and my fellow man. Maybe you can pray about it.