A while back, we were at the Wagner Farm in Glenview attending the surprise 70th birthday party for our friend George. There were about one hundred guests congregated inside the barn for drinks and appetizers; the latter being popcorn boxes filled with popcorn, peanuts, or pretzels served from a farm cart pushed by two of George’s grandsons. Outside on the lawn ten or so, round, red clothed, flower pot decorated, white chaired tables were set, ready for dinner.
Until now the sky had been clear, the wind mild, the temperature comfortable, the weather perfect. Gregory and I were at the field end of the farm visiting the cows, and sheep, and goats. I was taking close up pictures of one beautifully groomed cow, when she suddenly “nosed” my camera.” It was an intimate, wet moment after which the cow let me pet her. Gregory and I laughed. Slowly thunder clouds gathered and things turned dark. The sky didn’t look like an ‘it'll blow over’ situation. “What a shame for this to happen,” I thought. As the first few drops of rain began to fall, we headed back for the barn.
Under a porch roof, just outside the barn sat a row of white rocking chairs. Sitting on one of the rockers was Irma, one of George’s friends, also celebrating her birthday on that very day. Irma is an older, beautiful, no nonsense kind of black woman whom I admire. She was sitting next to her husband Willy, an educator, talented musician, and all around easy guy. Irma looked up at the dark clouds and said in a commanding voice while strongly pointing her finger at the ground , “Lord, we need a miracle here!” Shortly thereafter the sky cleared with no more than a few drops of rain having spotted the table cloths.
Now that is the way to pray. No begging, no pleading, no negotiating, no promises of behavior changes. Just a firm statement to your lord of what was needed. She didn’t point at the heavens in a demanding or accusing way. She pointed at the ground where we were gathered in celebration, to clarify the location of the needed miracle. She spoke her mind. And the clouds blew over, and only a few drops of rain fell, and the evening was a great success.
Now whether you believe in miracles or prayer or not, this might have been one!