Care Bear called at just the right time!

As I begin this piece, I’m feeling that perhaps English Poet Alexander Pope was referring to me when he talked about fools rushing in “where angels fear to tread.” It’s with a bit of hesitation that this crusty old radio newsman tackles the subject of prayer. But, an experience in the HFP office this week has me doing just that. 

As a Dutch kid, brought up in the Christian Reformed tradition, prayer was a part of daily life. As far back as I can remember, we prayed before and after all three meals each day. We knelt at our bedside at night to recite, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” And, in both morning and evening worship services every Sunday, the minister faithfully reserved 10 minutes prior to the sermon for what was often called, “the long prayer.” 

While it definitely became a part of my life, its relevance was rather limited. Those prayers were offered in the old King James style, using “thee” and “thou” instead of casually referring to our creator as “you.” Didn’t sound much like a conversation to me. 

Then, as I grew older and got out into the non-Calvinist world, I started learning more about prayer from other cultures. 

As a teenaged radio announcer handling Sunday morning programming on WMUS in Muskegon... Mother Mattie Davis hosted a live weekly broadcast featuring the Heavenly Echoes. Midway through the 30-minute broadcast, she would stop the music for prayer time. No “thees and thous” from Mother Davis. No, sirree. We remember the policemens and firemens taking care of us during the night. We ask for your guidance today, because it’s a brand new day that we’ve never seen before! 

Many years later, while selling church organs, I became exposed to other styles of worship, and from “high church” learned to love the delicious wording from the Book of Common Prayer: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name. 

Many years later again, I was reminded that prayer isn’t just something to offer before meals. In the 10-year, up-hill struggle to free Maurice Carter, my efforts were continually bolstered by a Black preacher on our committee. Sensing that I needed encouragement, Pastor Rodney Gulley would call me from his church in Benton Harbor to offer a prayer over the phone! 

And that leads me to a very brief, but very amazing, very touching little scene in the HFP office this week. Susie accepted the collect call from a Michigan inmate. With tears in her eyes, she shared: 

It was Care Bear. He wanted to check in and let us know that he’s thinking of us and praying for us. In fact, he asked me if he could pray for us right on the phone and he did! He makes flyers about HFP to hand out and is trying to continue to spread the word and raise money for us. It was a sweet call. Made my day!

                                             Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,

Uttered or unexpressed,

The motion of a hidden fire

That trembles in the breast.

James Montgomery

Comments

Unknown said…
Now I have tears in my eyes. Good tears. Thankful for reading this today tears.
Wflower2001 said…
And you just made my day with this post. Thank you! These people that are mass incarcerated truly do have such big hearts. They matter! You matter.♡

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