I was in a hurry, headed out to babysit my grandkids so my son-in-law could get to work. As I headed south on the highway I noticed a woman and a couple of middle-school aged kids dancing on the sidewalk, smiling and waving, jiggling cardboard signs at the passing vehicles. Assuming they were advertising a carwash, I continued on.
But it wasn't a carwash. They were pushing prayer - drive-thru prayer, and they weren't kidding. The parking lot just behind them was set up with drive-thru lanes marked by bright orange cones, a table piled high with water bottles, and volunteers primed to pray with anyone who happened through.
I'd been worrying about my nephew and his wife, who had decided not to evacuate their home in Kinston, NC ahead of Hurricane Florence so they could stay and provide shelter for those who might need it. I figured they needed all the prayer they could get, so I circled back and pulled into the parking lot.
A young girl reached into the stack of water bottles and offered me one. I declined but asked the man and woman standing with her if I could give them a prayer intention. "Of course!" they replied, and leaned in closer to my car window.
I told them about Danny and Sabrina while they listened sympathetically. My voice wobbled a few times as I described the young couple's idealism and potential danger. Feeling rushed, I got ready to pull away, figuring I'd left the intention in capable hands. The lovely woman listening asked, "Can we pray with you first?"
"You bet!" I replied, realizing I'd almost missed an opportunity. I pulled up my emergency brake, still a little distracted by just how odd this all seemed. We put our heads closer together, me still fastened into my seatbelt. The woman launched into the most beautiful, tender prayer imaginable, asking blessing and safety for Danny and Sabrina and for everyone in their community - those in need and those in service. I felt a calm descend on my heart, and a confidence that Danny and Sabrina were protected. When the prayer was finished I thanked the trio, waved to the others in the parking lot, and sped off.
After I got my grandkids settled I called my sister-in-law and told her of the strangers in Minnesota praying for her family. She cried. She told Danny. The circle of love widened.
Danny and Sabrina are safe, and the long process of hurricane cleanup has begun. But thanks to the good-hearted members of Wayzata Free Church, we all experienced the kindness of prayer spontaneously and generously shared, and a reminder of the power of a simple act of love offered without reserve.
Photos CCX Media