What I mean when I say pray.

(first published September 12, 2007)

I have had some people ask me to pray for them recently. I’ve told some other people that I am praying for them. I realized that I probably better tell you what I am doing when I agree or offer to pray. After all, it could be dangerous.


Picture a conversation between a dad and a child, in kitchen of the house, early in the morning. The dad has been up for a long time and is on his second cup of coffee, the child not as long, but long enough to be sitting at the table with a glass of milk.

This is not a dysfunctional relationship, but a dad and a child who get along, a dad that actually shows up and cares and provides and loves.  And the child? A child that is probably 6 or 7, old enough to converse and to acknowledge the people around, young enough to get tired and pouty, young enough to forget, young enough to think that there are no boundaries and then to discover that there are, young enough to not have skills to do much that is beautiful or productive…unless you are looking through a loving dad’s eyes.

See the picture?

Now picture a friend of that child sitting on the back step, crying in the early morning mist. Something is lost, someone is hurt, something isn’t right.

The child and dad look out. The child waits for the dad to do something, the dad is watching the child. The child slips down from the table and walks to the sliding glass door.

“Come in.”

But the friend just shakes her head.

The child walks out and sits down next to the friend, just sitting, listening.

“You can come in and talk to my dad. He can do anything.”

“I can’t. He doesn’t know me. He doesn’t care anyway.”

“Yes, he does. But I know. He doesn’t look very friendly at first. I’ll be right back.”

The child walks back into the house.

“Dad? What can I do? What can you do?”

The child walks back out and sits next to the friend. He gives her a hug.

“That’s from my dad.”

He hands her a glass of milk.

“That’s from my dad, too. He knew you liked chocolate in it.”

He sits quietly for a minute.

“My dad said you can sit here as long as you need to. He said I can sit here with you.”


That’s what I’m doing. I hope you don’t mind.