Prayer is an important ingredient of the Christian life. It’s at least one way that we’re able to communicate with the Father. I pray a lot these days. It’s probably not prayer like you might classify it, but it’s prayer, nonetheless. It’s mostly (but not limited to) just a one liner here and there. A lot of times I’ll just say, “Help me Lord”, or I’ll just speak a healing prayer over someone that comes to mind. I pray for Julie every morning when I put my wedding ring on, have for years. Anyway, my point is, prayer is a priority for me and I try to simply follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in doing it.
But there was a time in my life that I didn’t pray much. I mean, I prayed back during my rodeo career…..and daily, when I was getting on bulls every day. There’s just something about climbing down on an 1800 lb bull that makes you want to pray….if you know what I mean. But other than that prayer wasn’t a huge priority in my life. Should’ve been…..just wasn’t.
Life on the ranch was good. One of the yearly events was a little Christmas get-together at Gem City. Now, Gem City ain’t no ‘city’ at all. Matter of fact, all that Gem City consisted of was one house….and a little one room church house that had no regular services. Our nearest neighbors lived in that house. Homer and Georgia Thomas, an elderly….and very sweet couple, lived there. Every Christmas, a few days before, a lot of the ranch families would meet at the little church, sing a few Christmas carols, hear a little Christmas story preachin; and have a little something for the kids. There might be 40-50 people there and it was always a pleasant time.
Well, one year, and long before I’d started going to church, we went to the little program at Gem City. The carols had been sung, the preachin’ about Baby Jesus had happened and it was about time to wind it all up with a prayer when the preacher started lookin’ around the room. Everyone else had their head bowed and eyes closed but me and he made eye contact with me. I immediately thought, “This can’t be good!”. …..and get this!! Out of his mouth he says, “Andy Taylor….would you please lead us in prayer.” I ’bout gagged!! My blood pressure spiked! I broke out in a cold sweat! My whole life flashed in front of me! My hands got ‘clammy’! My mouth went dry! Julie and I looked at each other at exactly the same time….and as scared as I was…..she was scared – er!!! Neither one of us had any idea what I might say!
I have no idea what I prayed that night; maybe something like, “Lord, four-score and seven years ago” or “I pledge allegiance, Lord” ….Who knows what I might’ve said? I somehow made it through some kind of prayer….and without cussin too’!
We got in the car and let out a huge sigh of relief. We had a good laugh (I bet the Lord even laughed on that one!)….but I was secretly planning what I could be doing next year on that night instead of going to the Christmas program in Gem City!
PS- I’ll bet, if you can find those church pews, you can still find mine and Julie’s ‘claw marks’ on ’em!!