Then there was the old man who came to my twin brother, Fr. Peter, desperate in his need for prayers. He’d been sitting under a tree, ‘chilling out’ with a cool beer in the noon day heat, doing harm to neither man nor beast.
But to his horror his peace was shattered when he heard a loud screech. There in the branches above him was a bird of prey, known in Grenada as a ‘chicken hawk.’ In reality -small; to him, at that moment–enormous, threatening! A predator with a mean, hungry, malicious look in its eye. Terrified, he feared the chicken hawk would swoop down, seize him, carry him off and devour him. So, he hastened to Peter and asked him to pray for his deliverance and protection.
So, what are we to make of these amusing and bizarre requests for prayers. I think the best approach is for us to try to put ourselves into the shoes of our Heavenly Father, the most perfect of parents. Always He listens loving and patiently. Though our fears may be very real for us, the threat may be fanciful. But God never ridicules and humiliates anyone who comes with a genuine anxiety. Reassurance and peace of mind would answer the prayers of the man scared by the chicken hawk. God frequently tells us, His children, ‘do not be afraid.’ That would be a parent’s approach in soothing a child, scared by a nightmare.
But sometimes people ask us to pray for something which is wrong -a safe abortion, or the eviction of neighbours of a different racial background. Then our approach must be to pray together that they will come to see, accept and follow God’s will. Not only must we assure them of God’s support, but of ours, even when we disagree. If, together, we can pray, “Thy will be done,” we are already getting there. God bless you.