A few hundred yards from the patio of my new apartment stands a bench. I’d seen a variety of people sitting there facing the lake with its ducks and heron and a couple of turtles. Many people would sit with heads bowed or face in hands with elbows propped on their knees. I had pegged this particular bench as a place where people go when they’re troubled—perhaps to talk with God.
One early morning an Asian woman stood in front of the bench raising her hands high up to the skies—I couldn’t help but think she was praising God.
From that point on I called it “The Prayer Bench.” In addition, this past Sunday I had been praying again, for God’s direction. Truthfully, I’ve been church hopping. The move to my new apartment has given me lots of new areas to explore. Ever since my husband of 53 years passed away a year and a half ago I’ve not yet found my spot with the believers whom God wants me to plant myself. Perhaps I won’t find that place until I reach my eternal home.
But this Sunday felt different. Maybe I could invite some people into my home for Bible study or to church somewhere with me. I dressed for church and grabbed a leash to let my little dog, Smokey, out for a potty-break before I left. As he wandered about, he pulled toward the prayer bench—it was time to go back to the house. But Smokey had different ideas. He planted his feet with head pointed and tail wagging toward a young man standing near the prayer bench. I finally gave in and walked toward the young man. He had headphones on but took them off when I walked up. He looked to be in his early twenties. I greeted him and we began talking. I thought perhaps this was the person God was leading me to invite to church this morning. As we talked, I asked him if he goes to church. His face brightened and he said, “I sure do. It’s just right across the street. Would you like to go with me?” That took me by surprise. I queried him about what kind of church it was, and satisfied it was really a Christian church, I said, “Well why not?” I told him I had to take my dog home and he said he’d wait right there.
And so, I walked with my new friend, I’ll call Ren, to church. He was so very kind. He poured coffee for me and introduced me to a couple of women. “Ren, you don’t have to sit with me. Why don’t you go ahead and sit with your friends? I’ll be fine,” I told him. But Ren insisted he wanted to sit with me.
Thus, I made a new friend, a strong Christian whose dad is not a believer. I told him I had a son who was not a believer and he put his name in his phone to pray for him. I told him I’d pray for his dad as well. What joy to meet a young man about the age of my grandsons who loved Jesus and who was willing to invite and walk a “gramma” to church.
God answered my prayer right by the prayer bench.