Walking the dog is BORING - there. I said it. Every day, 3 times a day; rain, sleet or snow, the dog has NEEDS. One day, as the dog was sniffing at some plant he found particularly fascinating, I started praying the Lord's Prayer - just for something to do. As I said, "Our Father,..." I found myself looking at the houses around me. I realized that the Lord's Prayer wasn't just for me - that "our" included all these people I live next to! That may seem pretty obvious to you, but it was a new thought for me. As I prayed the rest of the prayer on behalf of my neighbourhood, each line of the prayer took on new meaning.
"Thy kingdom come...on earth..." - As I walked past each lawn, some looked like the garden of Eden, and others definitely do NOT. Then I asked, "What would heaven look like INSIDE their home?" I prayed for loving marriages, happy, diligent and honest kids.
"Give us this day our daily bread..." - I prayed that they would have ENOUGH. That God would provide for all their needs.
"Forgive us our trespasses..." took on new meaning as I "stooped to scoop", or as the dog lifted his leg on a prize rosebush! I got thinking about fences and stray Frisbees, cats and flowerbeds. I prayed for forgiveness and grace to flow between neighbours, and that the smell of BBQ'ed beef would make everyone happy.
"... deliver us from evil." I took great joy in praying this for the people on my route. "Lord, deliver them from evil. I don't know what struggles the people have behind those walls, but I'm sure they've all got some. I'm sure there's things they wish they could be free from, but can't seem to break those chains. Lord, please set them FREE!"
"Thine is... the glory..." As I returned home and took the leash off the dog, I realized that I may never know what effect, if any, my prayers had on those people. They may never know I prayed for them. And so I need to surrender control AND glory back to the One who deserves it all anyway.
What would YOU pray for your neighbours? What would you like to have them pray as they walk past your house? Something to think about on your next walk.