It was lunch hour, and the four friends gathered as usual outside the Arlington Ave. exit, getting their favorite table where they could capture the breeze. As they sat down, they automatically bowed their heads in a silent appreciation for jobs, food, and God’s grace.
The minute they began unwrapping their sandwiches, Fred leaned in, even though there were several empty tables between them and any others sitting out in the summer light.
“Guys, I—” He sighed, obviously troubled over something. “I need you to agree with me in prayer over a major decision I need to make in the next couple of weeks. I don’t feel I can say any more than that now. But I really need you to pray with me.”
Glenn was almost comical because he was trying earnestly to talk past the half-mouthful of French dip he hadn’t yet swallowed. “Muhwef thuih ri’ now.” Dorrell didn’t say anything, but he nodded, reaching a big hand across the table to take Fred’s. Washing the remnants of the tasty food down with some Diet Dr. Pepper, Glenn cleared his throat, reached across to put his hand over the other two, and said, “Absolutely. Let’s pray while it’s fresh.” Amari sat quietly, eyes focused on his friend, a muted tilaka on his forehead showing his Buddhist background prior to accepting Christ as his Savior.
All four men bowed their heads, as Dorrell’s rich baritone rumble began, “Father God, You’re the maker and sustainer of all things, Father God. And right now, we just want to praise and just, well, just honor You, Father God, because You’re the Waymaker, the Chainbreaker, Fath—-”
Fred was saying little, he was so broken and emotional, nodding in silent agreement.
Glenn had been silent for about 10 seconds, then said, “God, Thy Spirit is all over this need of Fred’s, and Thou knowest all about it. In fact, You, O Heavenly Father, knew ALL about this burden Brother Fred carries today long before he did. Right now, we pray Thy matchless POWER over our dear brother, and Holy Spirit, we CLAIM Thy TOTAL VICTORY over this entire matter! I call it DONE-uh in JEEE-sus name! . . . KOO-nee-ai, SHUN-didee-ai; SHUN-duhlo-kobrrria-ma-RINdalosEEE-uh—–”
Amari sat in a studied, focused silence, dusky-hued hands together and touching his lips, rocking slightly as he envisioned his prayers rising like fragrant incense.
In Heaven, Gabe got up from his sprinter’s start position and turned in confusion. “Hey, Boss? They’re doing that—that THING again. Uh . . .” His impossibly-buffed forearm flexed as he kind of flopped his hand.
A lot of things amuse God, but none more than the praying styles of His kids – and the interesting conversations in Celestial Central. He turned, and Gabe could see He could barely keep His composure. The impossibly-imposing angel patiently waited, having a real hard time keeping the grin off his own face. How do you watch God laugh and NOT join in?
“Really? Seriously, Lord, this is a big deal to Fred. I mean, we’ve been knowin’ about it all along, just waiting for him to ask. What’n the Universe are we s’posed to do with all that, that fluff? I know they’re all serious.”
Though conversational in tone, God’s Voice carried all across the Universe. That always signals a teaching moment, and God’s teaching moments are times for which the word, “AWESOME” was invented.
“Weed through all the underbrush, assess Fred’s concern and what he’s really asking for, and consider the very real love and concern of Glenn, Dorrell, and Amari. Add their combined faith, subtract the fluff, and get to answering.”
“Gabriel, the rest of that doesn’t matter. They quite often use those things either to prove to one another how spiritually mature they are, or they’ve gotten used to a certain rhythm to their public praying, or they’re relying on patterns of talking to Me they learned as kids, and they’ve never stopped to really listen to themselves. If any of their own kids ever asked things of them like those four are asking of Me, the dads would be as puzzled as you are. Either way, none of that ultimately matters to Me. Each man prays according to patterns he was taught and is comfortable with. Overlook the difference in style and see their agreement before Me. Therein lies the power. Remember the rule?”
Gabe nodded. “If any two or three of you agree—”
God nodded. “You got it. Don’t let the fluff distract you. Deal with the core need. Now—GO.”
Quicker than thought, the huge, stunning presence of mighty Gabriel deployed, instantly responding to not just Fred’s willingness to ask for his friends’ help – but also to their caring willingness to help shoulder their friend’s need.
As they were gathering up their wrappers and empty cups, Fred paused. “Guys? I can’t explain it, but I just now got a real peace inside that God’s taking care of the whole thing!” He bumped elbows with his three friends as they headed toward the nearest garbage bin.
Something told him the afternoon’s work was going to go a lot smoother for them all.
© D. Dean Boone, August 2018