I was out early as usual, before sun-up. I walked to the same place as usual; at the same pace as usual. I was alone. Tricia is in Ventnor closing up the house for the fall.
My first interaction was with a couple we've seen who come to Smith Athletic fields to exercise and play tennis. She looks younger than he. I don't know if they're married. They come to the fields most days we're there, and at about the same time. I'd just finished the first half of some very earnest praying and was walking over the bridge heading away from the fields when I saw they were heading down to cross the bridge.
Now before I go further, I have to let you know my praying is changing. It's becoming more bold, focused, and vehement. I won't go into why that's so for now, but something really good is up with my praying. Anyway, I've also noticed with these latest prayerwalks I'm much more open to engage the folks I encounter. There's a greater freedom in me. To be fair, both Tricia and I say, "Good Morning" to most everyone we walk by. We see it as a blessing; the wishing of all good; God's manifest blessing for the people we pass whether they know him of not. But we really don't encounter a chance to stop and talk with folks much.
So when I was within earshot of this I blurted: "Who's winning?" We often see them playing tennis. I think he's been teaching her. She, with a bright smile from ear to ear, immediately exclaimed, "I AM!!!" He, laughing, shouted out: "NO, YOU'RE NOT! LIAR!!!" I responded, "Oh, I seeeee ..." We all laughed as we passed by each other, and went our ways. Why I write of this is we've been running into them often in the morning. They're a friendly couple which means perhaps an opportunity will arise for us to get to know each other, maybe even become friends. They are quite a bit younger, but who knows. Also, normally I wouldn't have said something like that to them, but after praying I'm taking more risks.
So on I went continuing my earnest praying. Fifteen minutes into it on State Street. I had my second encounter. About 25 yards in front of me and heading my way was a short elderly woman in her 80's. She had a walker and was stopped in the middle of the sidewalk I was on just staring at me. I wasn't particularly friendly. As I got within15 yards, I thought, "I'll walk in the street near the curb so she can pass by and not have to wait. To do so, I had to walk around a parked car on my right. As I got around the car, I looked up, and with a stern gaze and pointing finger, she commanded, "You get back on this sidewalk!" I did so immediately, saying "Yes, ma'am," (not sarcastically, by the way). She wasn't kidding. She then scolded, "The roads are not safe with all the cars today." So just before I passed her, I said, "Thank you that's very kind. I was just showing you respect." At that, her faced softened, and she gave a me lovely smile, while also with her hand, made one of those, "Oh, go on ..." gestures. She was still smiling so I touched her shoulder lightly as I passed.
She reminded me of my mother and grandmother with the advice she gave. I have to say, I loved the smile I put on her face and the gesture of respect she heard I showed her sincerely. I don't know if she gets much of that in her life, or if she feels the reason to smile a great deal. But God granted two opportunities within 15 minutes to bless people so they laughed or smiled at the beginning of the day.
I'm telling you, God is up to something in the way he's helping me pray on these walks. I don't know how long it'll last, but I want more of it. I want to see his power manifest because of how he's helping me pray. I also want to see him recognized and glorified in the results of such prayer. Admittedly, I do want the people blessed because of my praying on their behalf, but I want the Most High seen for being set apart as he is, and worthy of our heartfelt praise.