There have been many praying people in my life. Today, because of the brevity of a blog, I'll write about three.
One lady, my preschool Sunday School teacher, a friend's mother and later my junior high youth group leader impressed my young soul. I go back to that Sunday School room surrounded by windows, the bright morning sun filtering through them. Young boys and girls in showy clothes, no sneakers then, boys wore ties, sometimes suits, girls frilly dresses, bows and socks, lined up in miniature wooden chairs. We sang lively songs, and then this lady stood in front of the children, with a lyrical voice using Thees and Thous, prayed. It was beautiful and never real long. Yet, even with the language of old, I sensed she was talking to God. I know she was now because of her life as I got older. Those flowery prayers rang true because of her testimony, her example. Her prayers led us into the throne room of the living Lord.
Reverend Hicks came to our church when I was 15. He was quiet in manner and voice. I believe because of sinus problems, his sound seemed to stay in the back of his throat. His common visits in the hospital rooms and at homes always ended in prayer. His style was conversational. I felt God was his friend and knew the Almighty listened to this humble man. Jesus visited with this preacher as his prayers evidenced. Like the old hymns, In the Garden, and He Lives<, I knew Jesus with him and I loved to hear him pray.
The most influential was my dad. His prayers were probably a mixture of these two styles. He always prayed before our meals and we were ushered into God's presence by them. I think though even more than hearing my father pray, which was a delight, was knowing he was up hours before the rest of us, drinking his pots of coffee, sitting at the far end of the kitchen table by the back door, talking to God. I believe knowing he was a praying man helped us through so many trials. He loved the Bible and studying it, he knew it and the Author. I never saw my dad on his knees, position not important in our religion. We were taught because of Jesus, you could come to Him in anyway. It was talking with God, because He loved us and wanted to talk with us.
God choses to work through our prayers. These are only three. My mother prayed, too, her style hesitant out loud, but again, I know she prayed. As Revelations 5:8 points out wonderfully, there are gold bowls filled with incense- the prayers of God's people! So many times, I think of these gold bowls, the prayers of my ancestors cheering me on, sustaining me, I imagine they prayed for their children and their children's children. As I also know my prayers are mingling with those before.