“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Be alert and always keep on praying for all.”- Ephesians 6:18 (NIV, abridged)
This scripture reminds me of Bill Holladay. He’s with the saints now, but when he was my seminary colleague, his office was on the top floor. He never took the elevator to get there. Loaded down with heavy tomes, on hot days when the AC was out, even when he was in a hurry, he took the stairs. Four flights.
Once we were talking about prayer. Intercession, to be exact. That man had a prayer list a mile long. People often ask me for prayers, but sometimes I forget. Not Bill. When he said he’d intercede for you, he interceded for you. Kept it all in his head, too. Never wrote anything down.
It amazed me that he remembered to pray for everyone and everything on that list, so I asked him how he managed it. He grinned, “The stairs.”
Up, down, and up again, to class, the dean’s office, the copy room, home for lunch and back: the stairs triggered his prayer, each tread a name, each riser a need. He always took the stairs, praying.
Like the dad I know who buckles his kids into child safety seats behind him every day, then schleps them off to school, to playdates, to their Gram’s. Whenever he comes to a stop at a signal light or sign, he casts a glance at them in the rearview mirror. “Into your hands,” he says to God. “Into your love.”
I have a list a mile long, too, God. But sometimes I forget. On stairs, at stop signs, emptying the dishwasher, by any routine little thing, prompt me. Trigger my care
Mary Luti is a long time seminary educator and pastor, author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles, and founding member of The Daughters of Abraham, a national network of interfaith women’s book groups.