It’s been a while since I’ve written here at the Greenhouse. I’ve been traveling a lot, so I haven’t been able to connect here recently.
Before one of my recent flights I found myself inching slowly in the security check line behind a lady named Maricela. It was her first time to fly. And she didn’t speak much English. I tried to ease her fears by conversing with her in Spanish as we unloaded our belongings on the conveyor belt.
She was obviously stressed—unsure of the routine to take off the shoes, belt and anything else that goes beep. The TSA agent sent her back two times before she was finally given the green light.
Her next daunting task was to find the departure gate. Since I had plenty of time until my connecting flight—and I saw the fear in her eyes–I offered to accompany her to the gate. We walked a ways, ascended the escalator and rode the Skylink Tram. It gave us plenty of time to visit.
I found out that she had a lot more to be stressed about than suitcases, security checks and departure gates. She was traveling home for her sick father who had taken a recent turn for the worse. She was eager to be with him in his last days, but also anxious about leaving her kids back in the states.
She carried lots of weight on her shoulders. And it wasn’t her overstuffed carry-on.
As we arrived at her gate, I told her that I’d be praying for her.
That was easy for me to say because I grew up hearing people say that to me. It comforts me to know that others lift up my needs to the Heavenly Father, so I feel comfortable saying that I’ll do the same for others. Praying for others is a privilege.
But recently, I’ve been challenging myself to pray with others in the moment instead of telling them I’d pray for them later. Not that I won’t pray for them later–although I’ll confess that sometimes I forget.
I’ve just seen the power of praying together in the moment. And for some people, it may be their only experience of prayer. One time after I prayed with a neighbor she said that no one had ever prayed with her like that before.
So in addition to telling Maricela that I’d be praying for her, I asked her if I could pray with her.
“Me gustaría orar contigo. Podemos orar antes de irme?”
She nodded her head, “Si.”
As we concluded praying together in Terminal D, she wiped away her tears and asked for my phone number. Maybe she’ll call to give me an update. Or maybe she’d like to pray again sometime. Who knows?
But I do know that praying with people in the moment–in addition to praying for them later—is meaningful.
That’s why I’m telling you about Maricela–in case you find yourself in a conversation with someone who is also carrying a heavy load. I hope you’ll consider praying with them in the moment. Of course there are situations that it would be awkward or it may be inappropriate timing. But at least look for the opportunity.
Will you open yourself up to the Spirit’s lead if you should pray with someone in the moment in addition to praying for them later?
I plan to keep saying, “I’ll be praying for you.”
But I also want to look for chances to say, “Can I pray with you?”
I’ll let you know if I ever hear from Maricela.
I hope you’ll let us know about some experiences you have with praying with others.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18