There are some who believe God winds up the world like a toy and then lets it run wild. I am not one of these people. I could easily be accused of seeing the Sovereign behind every wildflower and the Divine radiating, palpable, from the least, the least likely, and the left-behind. These are the places I look for Jesus—and inevitably, he shows up.
Last summer, my husband and I sat around a Sunday School class, all circle-like, a crew made up of our newly-believing Bible class combined with a class designed for those whom the world so often calls "special." They are special indeed. Some of these times were so sweet that you wanted to eat them up with a spoon. This particular Sunday, it felt like we were given extra chocolate sprinkles, that there was even a cherry on top.
One of the guys with deep brown beautiful skin offered to pray for all the class's requests—to take it all before the throne. Word on the street—or in the church—was that Ricky was an expert pray-er, though I had never personally observed this myself. Up to this point, I only knew that I called Ricky by the name Mark for months before someone corrected my mistake, though he never seemed to mind. I also knew he was partial to powdered doughnut holes, because I would occasionally glimpse telltale signs around his mouth. That is all. And then, he prayed.
It was the most beautiful of conversations. He was respectful and earnest and experienced and engaged. I don't believe he forgot a one of the requests that had been mentioned. The moment felt so holy, so stripped bare of pretense and pretending with God that it felt like it would be appropriate to take off our shoes.
But the thing that made the prayer so memorable, all these months later, was that as he prayed, Ricky would occasionally pause to say, "And I hope you have a good weekend, God.”
As if God and he were out for coffee or they were about to hang up the phone after a really great conversation, he would say, "I hope you have a good weekend."
Which in my feeble translation may mean, “It’s so nice to be talking with you, God. I hope you like this prayer, that all is well with you. And I want you to know I like talking with you.”
And when he was done I knew I didn’t want it to end. I wanted Ricky to pray all hour and we could forget the Sunday School lesson and all. But instead a lady stood in the center of the room holding a picture of a golden calf, and many of us danced around her like we were the Israelites, the wayward ones who forgot how to worship and to pray to the true God. It makes me think that we substitute things for real communion with our heavenly Father all the time, when really he wants us to be candid. He wants us to delight in him. He wants us to encourage him to have a good day or a good weekend; never mind that he is the master of time and timeless. That He himself created time. He wants to hear from us in our language, and when it is offered purely, I am convinced the prayers always get through.
Your turn: share a story where you felt God delighted in someone or some situation. Go!