Before coming to “rest” for 8 years in New Orleans, I traveled a lot for ministry, and all of those trips gave me a sack full of stories. One came to my mind as I listened to the Gospel on Sunday. It spoke about prayer, and so does the story I remembered.
We were on a flight coming from Orlando Florida and going to Newark, New Jersey. Right there sets the stage. Passengers included parents dead tired from walking Disney World; children in mourning because they would not get to walk Disney World and hug the mouse; regular customers (like me) just going about our business.
Seated behind me was an exhausted Mom, an older brother and a younger brother about five, and it was obvious the younger boy was not ready to go home. The kicking from behind of the seat next to me began fairly soon after take off and the sniffling began soon after that.
About an hour into the four hour flight, he began crying in earnest because he had realized there was no turning back. He cried himself to sleep after a short time for a short time, but when he awoke, it was louder and straight from the heart!
Just when we thought there would be no relief, a voice behind me from the 8 year old brother rose loud and clear that said, “Dear God, get us down from this sky!!”. A very loud “AMEN” resonated from the rest of us.
Now that is prayer! That is the kind of prayer we heard about in Sunday’s Gospel; straightforward, from the heart, no ruffles and flourishes, no grandiose pronouncements of praise and love and honor to God. It was a prayer that deeply acknowledged God’s power and a childlike trust that God will hear and God will do. Yes, it did take another hour, but the people on that plane knew God was with us! And we did indeed get out of that sky! AMEN.