Unless you are serious, I wouldn’t suggest that you ask my wife to pray for you. Trust me. She’s got a reputation for her prayers and sometimes they hurt just a bit.
About three months ago, she prayed that our college daughter might find a way to get more rest. A week later, my daughter broke her thumb and had to drop several extracurricular activities.
Simultaneously, my wife prayed to find more quality time with our 12-year-old daughter. The day after my college daughter returned from thumb surgery, the 12-year-old broke her foot. The doctor prescribed no walking, and my daughter spent many hours with my wife over the next two months. Prayer Granted.
Last week, you guessed it — she started praying for me. Like my oldest daughter, I too had been keeping a hectic schedule.
My wife prayed that I’d slow my writing schedules to spend some quality time with family. Her prayer established a “target lock” on me sometime Saturday afternoon as I had finished one writing project and was assembling my entry for a writing contest – all the while multitasking on a sermon in the midst of making cross-country travel arrangements.
I grabbed my chest. Breathing hurt and the pain stretched from my navel to my throat. I was thinking “heartburn” and I’d be OK, but as a hospital chaplain, I’ve heard too many people sing the heartburn tune of denial – which later turned out to be their funeral dirge.
With the calm demeanor of a drowning rat, I asked my wife to take me to the Emergency Room. Within a few minutes of arrival, I was given my first nitroglycerin tablet and the pain subsided.
The short version of this story is that I’m writing this column just a few hours after being discharged from 23 hours of observation on our hospital cardiac ward. Diagnosis – heartburn from hell.
My wife’s prayer was a warning shot over my bow intended only to “wing” me. The prayer hit its mark with accurate precision. My busy schedule slowed significantly and my wife put another notch in her “prayer belt.”
My prayers to find this “prayer warrior” began many years ago in a Junior High boy’s camp when my camp counselor agreed to share his secret for finding the most wonderfully caring and stunningly gorgeous woman in the world.
Of course, all we cared about was the stunning and gorgeous parts, but we listened anyway as he opened his Bible and read a passage from Matthew, “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
We starred at him blankly, until one of us expelled an unbelieving grunt.
“If you follow this advice,” he said, “it won’t matter what the woman looks like – to you, she’ll be stunningly gorgeous.” With that anticlimactic remark, he slammed his Bible shut and turned off the light.
As I lay there looking at the ceiling of our burlap tent, I was certain of only two things – that I wanted to be a minister and that I wanted a really fine girl – and, like most boys my age, the majority of my attention was with the latter.
Despite some of those skewed adolescent priorities, 10 years later, God gave me a really “fine girl” — probably more as result of her prayers than that of my testosterone-charged prayer from that camp bunk. Now, after nearly 25 years of marriage, she continues to pray for me and that I’ll keep my priorities straight by seeking God’s will for my life.
Her prayers sometimes take a circuitous route and sometimes people have been slightly injured, but everyone’s been OK in the end. So, at this point, I’m thinking of posting a prayer list of my website. But don’t worry; I won’t let her use it – unless of course you’d be willing to sign a release form.