Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Doubting Prayer

"How about you?" the pastor asked. He had seen her at her worst during and after the divorce. Stevie couldn't help but interpret his question as, "You're not slipping back into depression, are you?" "Really good, thank you, Pastor," she said, trying to sound upbeat.

Before turning away he gripped her shoulder and said, "We're praying for you, Stephanie." Coming from anyone else, the words might have sounded condescending. But Stevie was convinced that the pastor meant it. She just wasn't sure that it was doing any good.

Enjoying the minutes of relative tranquility while completing a mindless task, Stevie drifted back to the pastor's parting comment: "We're praying for you, Stephanie." Only people in the outer circle of her relationships called her Stephanie. He clearly saw himself as her pastor, not her friend— which was fine, because Stevie was uncomfortable calling him anything but Pastor. But his statement, and the conviction with which he had delivered it, was that of a caring friend.

A few other friends at church were praying for her too, Stevie knew. And despite her doubts and frequently flagging spirits, Stevie had not stopped praying herself. But prayers seldom progressed beyond the topic of her own needs and disappointments, and that bothered her.

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