This question hit me right between the eyes yesterday.
Let me start with GROCERY SHOPPING. I detest it, but yesterday, as my youngest and I were planning on going together, we came up with this plan to BUST OUT IN DANCE to “Gangham Style” in the middle of shopping. He was actually very excited about doing this and I am up for ANYTHING that will make grocery shopping less funky. So, it transpired. We zoomed through the shopping, giggling and dancing. It was FUN. I had fun grocery shopping. That is a sentence I thought I’d NEVER EVER write. Ever.
Then it was time to check out. (dun dun duuuuuunnnn…) The man behind the register had a permanent frown on his face. He was sour. I only assumed he hated his job. Perhaps he is not a morning person and it was before 10 a.m. I continued to guess why he didn’t own a smile. Then I started to pray. I started to pray that he smiled or showed some semblance of happiness. Nothing. I prayed and prayed. He said about five words to us. No words of happiness, only words of necessity like speaking the total to me. When I left Walmart, filled the car with all of our goods and began to drive over to our next stop, I said something to my son about wishing everyone loved their work. I mentioned that our checker was visibly unhappy. My child says, “He might of just been having a bad day.” That somehow helped me smile about the encounter, but it also made me realize that my child has a heart for others.
I admit, I didn’t think a lot about Mr. Grocery Cashier Man after that until this morning when his face popped into my head while praying. I talked to God about him and was just going through the list of reasons again–why he might not have been happy. I also thought about how I prayed for him while I was standing there un-admiring his scowl. God said: WHO WERE YOU PRAYING FOR? Were you praying for that man or for you? Were you selfishly asking to see a smile on a man’s face who apparently couldn’t give it or were you seriously praying for that man. Was I praying for WHATEVER reason, circumstance, struggle, battle he was going through? OR was I just so wanting to see a smile, I was asking or perhaps even demanding God do it right then– without any sincerity, compassion or caring? Looking back, meditating on that question and knowing why God asked it of me, I KNOW, I was praying for me! I had such a great experience shopping (for a change)that I didn’t want some sour-faced cashier to break my stride. HOW SELFISH! Prayer is such a powerful thing, but I was using it all wrong!
I still have no idea why cashier man was sad or maybe if he even was? I just know that no matter what is going on with him, I should have been praying for him. I should always sincerely and wholeheartedly pray for others. I don’t want to be selfish in my prayers. I want my prayers to point to others hurts, needs and even wants. If it is in God’s will, I know He will grant it. I thank Him for that! I thank Him for the power of prayer!!! AND I sure hope I can ALWAYS use that power the way I’m supposed to.