Strangers who pray

Julie at Happy Catholic linked to Patrick at The Paragraph Farmer about his encounter in a post office parking lot when an evangelical woman he never met before stopped to pray for him. Patrick asked if others had a similar experience.

A few weeks ago I took my daughter Bailey to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden. The main feature of the shrine is a 22 foot tall statue of Jesus on top of a hill. The 373 step “Stairway of Prayer” leads up the hill to the statue. With a little help to prop her up, Bailey climbed all 373 steps.

There were quite a few people at the top when we got there. Bailey wasted no time in introducing herself to some older children in her signature jabber. No one understood her but they responded back to her and played with her for a while.

After about 15 minutes most of the other people had left. Two other men, a young boy, and Bailey and I were all that remained. At that point, one of the men took off his cap, got down on his knees facing the statue, and began praying silently. Something about his actions attracted Bailey. She stood a few feet behind the man watching him. He prayed for a couple of minutes. She didn’t take her eyes off him the whole time.

When the man finished, he stood up, replaced his hat, and turned around. He looked down and saw my daughter staring up at him intently. The man looked over at me and said, “what a beautiful girl.” He then extended his right hand to the top of her head and prayed, “The Lord bless you.”

That part is my most vivid memory. I don’t have the words to explain how it moved me to see this stranger pray for God’s blessing on my child. I could only respond with an inaudible “thank you” I mouthed. I didn’t even find out his name. He left with his friend and the boy a minute later.

The entire scene lasted less than 5 minutes but it is burned in my memory. The prayers of strangers offered in charity are powerful indeed.