The Pray-er and his prayer

I come upon all sorts of sightings while I walk the forestlands near my home: usually birds, interesting plants, animals, or the occasional what-was-that-sound?

Awhile back though, on a day when I sure as heck needed the solace of a mid-day forest walk because all is quiet, and meeting other humans is scarce, I came upon a sweet sight: Near the end of my walk, on a part of a trail I call the Wonder Zone for my wonderful sightings there, I came upon a man looking up to the treetops, as if gazing at something, well, wonderful. In that spot, I’ve witnessed owl couples courting in what I call the kissing tree; I’ve watched a mama hawk give flight lessons to babies there; and the sun often glints in that wonder spot, so…

I thought he was taking in a sight of some kind. His face was illuminated by a beam of sun. And then he held his hands up. I quietly approached. “ Pardon me, I’m sorry to burst into your reverie. Are you looking at a hawk or an owl?” Quiet gaze met quiet approach: He said, “I was praying.” I loved that. In the forest, where Creator’s magnificent imagination was in full glory, there was a human, praying. I said how sweet this was to come upon. We chatted about nature sightings, and exchanged names and went our separate ways, yet the sweet prayer sighting stayed with me through the day.

Now, to be honest, there are challenges afoot in the household: Husband’s heart is having a challenging time of it, with his onboard defibrillator zapping him twice in 6 weeks, and a corresponding slowing of his activity as well as a waning zest for life. And I am caught between worldly challenges with two people I dearly love: husband and mom, plus work, plus other complexities I won’t go into right now. So, while all teary and emotional about all this, I escaped to the forest for a breath. Maybe two. Maybe more, but I seem to breathe easier there, and that is what I needed: To catch my breath. And to shed a few tears in private.

While I was wiping said tears in supposed privacy, a familiar man approached: The Pray-er. I swiped at another tear, and he inquired if I was OK. I said, “Yea, just a bit challenged right now. So if you don’t mind, please add me and my husband Jim to your prayer time.” He said, “Well this might be a good time.” And I said, “yes, I think it is.” So we gently held hands, and he prayed... He prayed to his Father in Heaven, and acknowledged that He knew the contents of our hearts, and that he holds our hearts in support. He continued on in this vein...mainly that God the Father knew what was needed and we are grateful for this and please send comfort to Jim and Elke… There were no pleas for a miracle—just a statement of faith in the process of the God and human relationship. I was comforted. He let go of my hands. And then surprised me with…

“I hope I didn’t offend you!”

Come again?

I reassured him that he had not, and I had asked him to pray for me, with no conditions as to Who he should pray to. He took a breath--one of relief. I said: “Look, I am grateful. As for me, my God is Love, so its all good. All good. Thank you so much for your prayer.” I asked about his life and his work—which is now post retirement work helping people in need. But I mostly wanted to let him know that the timing of the Pray-er on the trail and his heart felt prayer meant the world to me—and it does to this day.

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