Prayer Drive-thru

(anon)

 

So today I was on my way from our lake house in Bumpass, Virginia to pick up my niece in Farmville, Virginia to bring Katie home from college for a brief Labor Day weekend. On my way to meet Katie, with John Mellencamp blaring through my speakers, somewhere in the middle of the beautiful rolling hills of central rural Virginia, I drove by a teenager holding a sign that read “Prayer Drive-Thru,” with an arrow pointing toward the next right-hand turn. Too curious to drive by without stopping, and well ahead of schedule to pick up Katie, I decided to check out this unexpected Prayer Drive-Thru. I pulled into the parking lot of a tiny non-descript white clapboard rural church where a tent had been set up in the gravel parking lot. There were other cars in the lot as well, with small groups of people clustered around the vehicles. I couldn’t tell if they were other drivers like myself, perhaps with other passengers, or church members, or some combination thereof.

I stopped my truck, rolled down my windows so Brock could also partake, and waited to be approached. Soon enough a short, relatively wide middle-age woman (about my age) with a festive straw-hat atop her head walked up to us. She stuck one hand out to me in greeting, while the other hand stopped her straw hat from flying into the breeze, and introduced herself as Sister Barb.

Sticking out my hand to shake hers, I introduced myself as Chuck, then introduced my dog Brock and said, “My Mom’s name is Barbara, pleased to meet you Sister Barb.” Sister Barb said, “So, Chuck, what can we pray for you this morning?” I shared that some members of my family could use some prayer, that I was studying to be an Episcopal priest, that I had exams in a few months, bills to pay, and could use all the prayer she could spare asking God to bless me and my life’s journey. Sister Barb didn’t blink an eye and holding my right hand in both of hers, she bowed her head and said, “Father God, you heard Chuck’s list of prayers and concerns, please be with his family and him God, as he follows what he perceives to be Your Will. If it is Your Will that he become a priest guide him in this direction. Help him with those bills. We ask all things through Christ Our Lord, Amen.” And that was that.

Or was it? All day long I have been smiling, thinking of that kid with the poster board and the arrow and the gravel lot and tent and dear, dear Sister Barb and her simple prayer of encouragement and support to a God I know hears us all. And I keep smiling. And smiling … thanking God for the little Prayer Drive-Thru. What a beautiful ministry. I’m so glad I stopped, and if you come across such a sign and an invitation to pray, I hope your experience is as positive as mine.

Peace and love to you all …. and please know you and your intentions are in my prayers this day,

Chuck

P.S.  For an interesting view of taking prayer to the streets, see this article from the Episcopal News Service, “‘Want Prayer?’ Progressive lay evangelists take church to the streets

 

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