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.

10 comments:

  1. Nice one dad....I think we all could use some extra prayers at times.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a nice surprise to discover your comment. I'm so glad that Praying for Strangers captured you and gave you a more positive moment. Personally, I was raised by the tribe of Eeyore so I know that spirit well. :)

    Connecting - we continue as the best of ourselves.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

    River Jordan

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ms Jordan, I was totally blown away to get a response from you. Thankyou for taking the time to comment. I loved your book and the frank and honest way you expressed your feelings. I need to get it back to the library so others will benefit as well. As they say in the navy, well done! I hope you and your family are doing well and will have a blessed time during this holiday season.
    Tom Botts

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think your take on the Black Friday Culture may be correct, Tom, and I truly hope it changes (although I don't see how it will in our consumer-driven economy). I, too, see the glass as half empty, so I understand how you feel :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles, and I'll look for the Jordan book at my library. Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very well said dad! I'll have to check that book out as well! Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Definitely a book I'll have to look into as well...really awesome that the author took the time to respond to your post;-) That says a lot about her character, and makes me that much more inclined to find this book...Liked the blog...while I can completely understand your take on all things "holiday"...etc...and understand how the important reasons for the holidays get lost somewhere amongst the hustle n bustle of the seasons, I still like to try to enjoy the craziness of it all....and...on the opposite scale of things...the innocence of my kids as they get to experience all the wonders of the seasons...Love you dad! AJ

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Girls, thanks for the comments. I think you'll enjoy the book. I believe it's her first non-fiction book. She has a radio program and does other author related activities and it sounds like she's incredibly busy, unlike myself right now. If you like her book I hope you'll tell others about it.It's how books become well known. It was pretty cool that she commented on the blog. Amber, you've got a good point about enjoying the seasons. My personality is such that I don't like too much craziness, and I'm dissapointed that the holidays are so commercial, but it's still a special time. Enjoy your time with the kids while you can, all too soon they're on their own and you're only left with (hopefully) good memories. Love you girls!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great thoughts Tom. THanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. True enough dad...I'm tryin tryin tryin to keep a positive spin on all the craziness goin on that we call life...the two older kiddos are goin to spend Christmas with their dad..and sounds like now that Camille n Sara are talkin, they'll get to see their aunt n uncle and cousin, so that's a good thing as well...will miss em, but we'll celebrate Christmas when they get back..as far as Kennedy knows, there's a tree up with pretty lights...we'll celebrate together as a family when they return..hoping you all back home are able to enjoy the season..know it's stressful..but am thankful to know I have the family and friends that I do...and grew up in the home I did..with family who are all my best friends...not too many people can proudly say that anymore..and that's a sad fact...love all ya'll and miss you tons...some day I'll make it back home....love, AJ

    ReplyDelete