Hattie and Beth walked out of Publix with reusable cloth grocery bags on each of their arms.
“There must be a dozen,” said Hattie, glancing up at the sky.
Beth turned toward her with a scrunched, confused look on her face. “A dozen what, eggs, rolls, cookies?”
“No, clouds. And, over there, maybe there are two dozen in all; hummm, the elders.”
“You’ll have to explain what you’re seeing; all I see is a bunch of fluff balls,” replied Beth.
Hattie explained “They’re praying. See, all the separate clouds are identical; all kneeling in a line and all with bowed heads. Maybe they’re monks.”
“Now I see them,” replied Beth. “They do look like they are all kneeling and praying. Maybe it’s a church congregation.” After a bit, she added, “We’ll have to look up some verses about prayer.”
They set their bags in the back of Hattie’s CRV, and climbed into the front seat. “There is always ‘The Lord’s Prayer’.” Beth began the process of thinking about prayer verses.
Hattie started the engine with a puff of hot A/C rushing out of the vent. “But, I want to find some other verses about prayer. I know there are a ton of them, and we can probably think of enough for Ellen’s article just while we’re driving home.”
“OK,” said Beth, “One important one is Philippians 4:6-7; we learned this in AWANA: pray with thanksgiving. ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ I think we often forget about thanking God; at least I often do.”
“That’s a wonderful verse. I must be more thankful,” Hattie relied. Then, she thought of an occasion in which she had shared. “I remember in my first church, the pastor had special prayer services. He would anoint the forehead of the sick person, and the deacons would pray for that person. We saw some miracles. James 5 talks about that. ‘Is any one among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick man….pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in it effects.’ How can anyone not believe in miracles?”
After a few minutes, Hattie added, “I’m thinking back to when Jesus cleansed the Temple. I think it is in Mark 11. He said, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer…’ and I don’t think we pray very much in church nowadays.” There was silence.
Hattie kept her eyes on the road while they headed toward the lake. She glanced at the sky; the twelve kneeling monks, or the 24 puffy elders, had swooshed away. “Beth, what if God doesn’t answer our prayers the way WE think He should? I think we may be opening some issues that need a lot more research and discussion.”
As they turned down the road that led to the lake, Beth added, “We mustn’t take this lightly. Prayer is vital. Let’s look up more verses tonight.”
“For now,” said Hattie, “let’s get these groceries in the house. PICNIC time!
“I’d like to say an extra special grace this evening.”