A Big Small Moment: Surprised by Prayer

grace-before-the-meal
Thanks and praise to God are forms of pray that usher us into the mindfulness of God’s presence, and there are no small moments when prayer is not possible! There are small moments that  loom large in my memory and return often to me with joy and inspiration.  Not long ago, a super memorable small moment came in a prayer that caught me off guard.  I was delightfully surprised at the time.

I was out to dinner in Long Beach, California with graciously hospitable friends.  They picked me up at my hotel and took me to an Asian restaurant” nearby.  At the table, the waiter of Mexican heritage began the usual drill: he told us his name, asked what would we like to drink, recited the specials on the menu.  He took our orders and just as he was walking away, one of my hosts said to him “In a few minutes, when the food arrives, we are going to pray before we eat.  Is there anything you would like us to pray about for you?”  I was surprised by the question as much as our waiter was. This was likely a first for him. It was for me.  But it was quite wonderful.  After he had placed the order and brought the food, he answered the question explaining the health situation of his mother and asking that we pray for her.  One of the hosts said a beautiful prayer.  The waiter was clearly moved.  So was I.  It only took a small moment, but had a big impact.

It was a very big “small moment” for me.  Just then a powerful insight became so apparent. We can acknowledge the presence of God at any time and minister to others anywhere.   I was struck by how naturally the moment unfolded. I attribute that to the maturity and passion of my hosts for things of the Kingdom, and for their obedience to the Great Commandment to love a neighbor.

A few days later I was sitting in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina having lunch with another lovely couple, two Argentine Salvation Army officers.  The waitress came to the table and started the drill (water, menu, specials).  I asked her if there was something we could pray about for her when we said our prayer over the meal.  We surprised her and seized a moment of glory and grace. Try it sometime and somewhere.  Take a small moment and make it bigger.  Then give thanks to God.

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