Category: Prayer


When it came time to pray, the Stars and Stripes stood limp in the back, left-hand corner of the room, out of sight.

Up front was the processional cross, the center of our attention and standard of the hour. I had to crane my neck nearly one hundred and eighty degrees to spy Old Glory. I didn’t feel sorry for her, though. I knew that before the day was over, she would receive her due–and then some. But at that moment, she was merely an invited guest, one among many.

That was the scene as we prepared for common prayer yesterday at Nativity Episcopal Church in Huntsville.… Read the rest

Dust In The Wind

I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment’s gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes a curiosity

Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind.

“Dust in the Wind,” Kansas, 1977

Ash Wednesday always makes me think of dust (that’s the point, after all). And I can’t think of dust without thinking of Bobby.

Bobby was one of my best friends at church growing up. He, David and I were either The Three Musketeers or The Three Stooges, depending on who you asked. We often hung out on the elevated front porch of the Roanoke Church of Christ overlooking Brandon Avenue near the “Established in 33 AD” sign.… Read the rest

On This Night, No “Rammer Jammer”

In the end, there was no “Rammer Jammer,” only a circle of prayer.

Such was the scene at the fifty yard line in the middle of the field of battle surrounded by the towering expanse of Bryant Denny, the Temple of All Things Tide. Crimson clad warriors kneeling with maroon and white gladiators, shoulder-to-shoulder, gloved hand-in-gloved hand, pausing to grieve over and remember one of their own who had fallen, a victim caught up and devoured in the cruel maw of contingency and circumstance.

If there was one thing that world of college football needed after the 24/7 melodrama of Cecil and Cam Newton it was perspective.… Read the rest

A Full Extension, Both-Toes-Inbounds Catch

Here’s the question: If I could somehow translate Steeler receiver Santonio Holmes’ sublime, full-extension, both-toes-inbounds Super Bowl-winning catch (or for that matter, James Harrison’s “Pass the oxygen, please” 100 yard interception return) into Eyeguy language, what would it look like?

Possible answers:

  • When I hear the splatter of rain on the gutters, I would round up my gear and go for a run anyway, or short of that, hit the elliptical trainer after work.
  • I would write something–anything–to jump-start my aging gray matter and focus it toward constructive work.
  • I wouldn’t be in so much of a rush that I would forget to kiss Eyegal before heading out the door.
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You See, That Wasn’t So Hard, Was It?

Shon Smith, preaching minister at the University Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, stood this past Sunday and delivered the goods on how a Christian, especially the white-bread, Southern evangelical Republican-voting version, can pray for President Obama and find common cause with him. In short, it’s a recipe for spitting out those “sour grapes” and just getting on with it.

The 1/25 sermon (h/t to Number One Son for passing it on) was entitled “A New Era” and can be found here. The whole 30+ minute sermon is worth listening to, but the meat (and it is that, not milk) on the why and how of praying for President Obama begins about 6 minutes in.… Read the rest

Ground Zero

I was worried yesterday morning that I would be so busy in the clinic that I wouldn’t be able to catch any of the inauguration. As it turned out, many of my patients failed to show (hmmm…perhaps it was too cold, or maybe they had something on TV they wanted to watch?), so I did see a good bit of it, including the swearing-in ceremony, on the television in the break room. And even in those moments when I was tied to my desk, there was good, ol’ reliable NPR.

During one lull in the action, I poured myself yet another cup o’ Joe and sat down to watch as the Presidential motorcade made its way to The Capital Building while a million onlookers, quivering from the cold and bold expectations, formed a happy guantlet whose only weapons were shouts of jubilation flung with reckless abandon.… Read the rest

Be Careful What You Want Someone Else To Pray For

There’s an old saying, “Be careful what you pray for.” Perhaps we should change that to “Be careful what you want someone else to pray for.”

Allow me to explain.

Last Saturday, the thought began to cross my mind: I wonder if anyone will pray for President-elect Barack Obama at church tomorrow? It began to burr into my consciousness; no, it actually got stuck in my craw. I figured I knew the answer to the question, but then I thought: Wait Mike, you ornery old so-and-so, break some new ground–think positively and charitably for once.

And I tried. I really did.… Read the rest

Want Respect? Earn It

I was 28-years-old when I graduated from optometry school and finally gained that long sought after title of “doctor.” No more “scut work” for me, I thought. “Let respect flow like a river, and money like a mighty stream” was my motto.

Oh, if only it had been that simple. We moved to Nashville where I started a residency in ocular disease at a large ophthalmology clinic and referral center near Vanderbilt. One of the first patients that I saw in the clinic there stared at me in disbelief when I walked into the room and declared, “And what high school did you just graduate from?”… Read the rest

Jumping In

I’m usually the only one up this early, but this morning I have company. Amazing Gracie The Wonderdog rose early to join me, and is now curled up beside me in “her” recliner for the first of several morning naps. A few moments ago, Number Two passed through on his way to work. He’s a lifeguard at the local YMCA and today he’s working the early shift.

He’s only been working there since the first of the year but has been putting in a lot of hours in an effort to help pay for a trip to Germany this summer. He looks the part–long and lanky, warm-up suit over the trunks, flip-flops (even though it’s in the 30s) and a whistle around his neck.… Read the rest

Pray for Lamar

I realize that very few of you know Lamar Jackson, but take my word for it: He’s a great guy. Lamar played club and high school soccer with Number One Son, and he is a sophomore pharmacy student at Ole Miss. Like many college kids in town, he had come back to Huntsville to rendezvous with friends at Big Spring Jam. On his way back to Oxford, he apparently fell asleep at the wheel and was injured badly in a single car accident near Tupelo Sunday evening.

Things were touch and go for a while and he was on a respirator, but he is now able to breathe on his own.… Read the rest

Be Careful What You Pray For

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

–Matthew 5:45

Some of you may not know this, but Alabama Governor Bob Riley proclaimed this week “Days of Prayer for Rain” and asked all citizens to pray both individually and in their houses of worship for our drought to end. The predictable peals of derisive laughter came from the usual suspects, but it was business as usual in the Bible Belt.

According to yesterday’s Huntsville Times, it worked! Well, sorta.

I chuckled when I saw the headline and thought of that movie Bruce Almighty in which people prayed for things that they wanted or thought they needed, but the answers to their prayers often had unforeseen consequences.… Read the rest

What’s in Your Blank?

peyton_bio.jpgWhen Indy’s Joseph Addai scored the winning touchdown with one minute left in last night’s NFC title game, Colt’s quarterback Peyton Manning fretted that too much time was left on the clock for New England’s Tom Brady to once again work his magic.

Manning then returned to the bench, bowed his head, and prayed.

With 16 seconds left and the Patriots threatening, Indy cornerback Marlin Jackson intercepted a Brady pass at the Colts’ 35 yard line. Game over. Prayer answered.

Or was it?

After the game, Manning opined on the intersection of sport and faith:

“I don’t know if you’re supposed to pray for things like that.”

Read the rest