She motioned to me before I could take my seat. I was startled, slow to move, not sure I was ready for just what it was that I had been courting all day long.
Crouching slightly over her as she sat, I said, ‘Yes ma’am’.
This woman could be my mother. No, she could be my mother’s mother. Surely she could not have called me for that one reason, that one thing I had been offering since morning, with no takers.
“I see your shirt.” she said. “Yes, I want prayer.”
In that moment I just wanted to be polite, I did not want to pray. So I put on my most deferential voice, and after asking her name, I said, ‘Yes ma’am, I’ll pray for you.’ I stood up straight and turned to walk away.
I could not pray for her right then. You see, even though I was wearing a bright pink t-shirt with the words, “Want Prayer?” printed across the breast, I had just spent the previous 20 minutes driving to dinner in complete silence, overripe with anger toward my husband. Having been denied seating at the first restaurant we stopped at, this was our last resort and somehow that small inconvenience added to the tension between us. I sat down at my table, made a mental note of her name, and waited.
“Do it now,” is all He said.
I scooted my seat back out, turned to my husband and let him know I had to ‘do something’.
All day I wore that shirt. At the start of the day I was excited. I was waiting for it. Who would take me up on it? Who wants prayer? By dinner time, it seemed no one wanted prayer, life was difficult, marriage was sometimes unfair, and it was I who needed prayer.
I sat next to her and said, ‘Alright Miss Linda, tell me about what’s been going on with you.” About ten minutes later, our hands were clasped, our heads bowed, and I was praying. Praying for her restaurant, for her children and grandchildren, for an upcoming business deal that she was uncertain about, for the loved ones that cause her to worry at night; I was praying.
Sober and humbled, I made my way back to my table, slightly confused by what God had done. Wasn’t I smack in the middle of an unresolved tiff with my spouse? Wasn’t I being a little willful and obstinate even? Gently the Spirit reminded me that while I absolutely did have to iron out the mishap with my husband, none of my circumstances, or my flaws, can override His ability to use my life. The only thing I have to do in the exact moment He calls me is obey. Do it now.
“The Lord sent you here to pray for me,” she said over and over again. “The Lord sent you here.”
I had been many places that day, including busy airports and grocery stores, but I was sent to just one place, and that was a quaint little restaurant owned by a widow named Linda, who believed strongly in prayers and people who pray. Her faith emboldened her to beckon to me and receive just what God had in store for her all day long.