My Pops Was A Praying Man

 

I remember my Pop’s prayers.  They were long and loud, usually longer than louder.  It didn’t really matter where he was at when he began to pray.  Once he got in the spirit, as Pentecostal folks back then called it, he seemed to become oblivious to his surroundings.  It often happened at Momma’s Sunday dinner table when the food would need blessed.  She always seemed kind of disappointed when the food had gotten cold while we waited for Pops to say “Amen”.   Or it could happen as Pop & Momma would sit together with sister and me for prayer before bed.  I would often fall asleep on the sofa before the “Amen”…  and the scoldings slipped out before Momma could be a buffer.  Or in church service during testimony time (that was when the leader of the church service would open time up for the congregation to take turns standing up and talking about all the wonderful things that the Lord had done for them). That used to be the old time way of having church!  And that was when Pop’s testimony would turn into more of a sermon than a testimony! 

 

A favorite story that I like to recall is when Pops passed away in 1984.  A visiting friend from Ohio, a pastor, told us that when he was a lad he and his friends used to walk to where young men go on a Friday or Saturday night…. One such night they were returning home late and when passing where our family lived on Nobe Road, they heard Pop’s loud voice coming from way down over the hill behind our house.  Yes, he was praying… loud and long!  That man being a pastor at the time of the story, seemed to enjoy the telling, because he then understood the importance of praying saints!  That man is now deceased as well, so I cannot tell him how much it meant to me to hear such a story.  Another person came to me the evening of Pop’s viewing at the funeral home for a similar description of the character of my Pops.  She said, “If anyone ever loved the Lord, it was your dad.”    I agreed then and I still agree today. 

 

In my youthful days, I didn’t like how Pops drew so much attention to himself with such things as long testimonies and prayers.  People called him a religious fanatic (a popular term used back in that day).  It was embarrassing to me.  In those years I was much more interested in teenage girl stuff… “you know” like boys, boys and boys!  Looking back I know that it would have taken a very brave boy to risk a ‘coming to call’ on the daughter of my Pops.  But, eventually there was such a boy. He and I were maybe misfits then but time proved us to be a perfect fit.  That boy became my husband!

 

Many, many years ago when I was still a young mother, my late father-in-law told me something that I never forgot and still think of often. He had been sitting in his chair praying when we entered the room and had unintentionally interrupted him. With teary eyes and in a soft voice he said, “I’ve found throughout my life that prayer is the greatest weapon I’ve had to fight against the darkness.”   I’ll now agree with Dad-in-law because looking back I’ve found that statement to be true in my own life.  If I just take the time to pray… it makes a difference!  Even if the answer does not come quite like I think it should, I’ve found that I never have to face any day alone.  And that is the difference!  

 

Looking about at the world today and the darkness that is closing in all around us, I wonder if things would be in their present condition if there had been more people that had prayed like my Pops did back in his day!  Long and loud!  Maybe such darkness would have quickly fled more often if confronted with the light that prayers like my Pops must have shed.  I’ll probably never know.  But I can still consider. 

 

I wish I could pray like my Pops!  Long and loud, even if doing so would not draw many friends.  Quite the reverse it seems.  But I seem to be more of a closet praying person!  Is one type prayer better than the other?  I think not!  Would it not depend on the condition, intent and purity of the heart of the one praying?  I’ll conclude with the thought that however the Spirit leads us to pray, then that is probably how we best be prayin’…   

 

The thing I’m most certain of is that the friend that is closer than a brother, is all that I will ever need!  Whether I speak loud, long, soft or silent…. He walks with me and talks with me on my path.  And He always hears my heart…….    

ajs