Praying at the grocery store

Posted by seanho on Wed 16 May 2007

Well, this was really weird! I'm at the Save-On Foods grocery store just a block away from my house, stocking up on my supply of iced tea, and I'm waiting in line at the check-out. It's really crowded and busy today, and the lines are moving slowly. I'm almost to the front of the line; the cashier is doing her best but looks really tired and over-worked.

Then, out of the blue, I get this clear, powerful prompting to pray for this cashier. Her name tag reads, "Sharon": she looks to be in her upper thirties, heavy-set, her eyes, shoulders, posture, all drooping. She looks frustrated, drained. I try to ignore the prompting within me, but it is unmistakable: I need to be praying for this lady, right now.

OK, God, sure I can always pray for the people around me, but do I have to talk to her about it? Can't I just pray silently? I struggle and hesitate, and in those 20 seconds she's already finished scanning and is waiting for me to sign the credit card slip. OK, here I go. As I sign the slip and push it back, I stammer,

"Ca.. can I pray for you?"

Both she and the bag-boy stop and give me a look that says so clearly, "What are you, a fool?"

I try again: "Would it be all right if I prayed for you?"

She annoyedly replies, "I'm busy here!", waving her hands at the groceries piling up before her. The bag-boy looks away. I nod and hastily gather up my things, thinking to myself, "well, duh, that's the response any sane person would have in this situation!".

Outside in the parking lot, in the beautiful sunshine and cool breeze, I stop and pray: What just happened here? What was the point of that? I failed actually to pray with her -- so Lord, why did you nudge me like that? Lord Jesus, I pray for Sharon. Grant her an extra measure of your comfort and peace, that she would be able to find joy even in a trying job; that she would be able to enjoy a bit of the sunshine today, even if only a glimpse through the store windows. I pray that through one means or another, she would hear of and know that there is a God in heaven, the Saviour Jesus Christ, who loves her and wants to redeem her.

And as for me, I am reminded that God is working in the lives of the people all around me every day, whether I'm aware of it or not -- so I need to be prepared, I need to open up my eyes and my heart, I need to keep in step with the Spirit, bearing its fruit in my character:

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The soundtrack that's been running through my head this week is Tim Hughes' "Everything" (mp3):

God in my living, there in my breathing,
God in my waking, God in my sleeping;
God in my resting, there in my working,
God in my thinking, God in my speaking,
Be my everything, be my everything

I must glorify God and bear witness to Him in everything I do -- when I'm grocery shopping, when I'm driving in rush-hour traffic, when I'm eating lunch with friends after church. The heavens tell of the glory of God; the whole earth is the cathedral for His worship -- and I will praise Him in it!

tags: home, ministry, musings,