As these last couple of years have put all of us more in touch with our mortality, Ruthie and I have been more intentional about crossing items off on our “bucket list” – things that are important for us to do before we die (“kick the bucket”). A few of those have been going to concerts of favorite musicians when they have appeared in our region like Keb’ Mo’, Lyle Lovett, Five for Fighting, and David Gray. Other more important items have been making a conscientious effort to reconnect, reunite, and share time with old friends, especially since one of our childhood friends died from Covid during the first year of the pandemic.
A number of years ago, I saw a sign in front of a church promoting the preacher’s sermon that Sunday, entitled “The Christian Bucket List.” I didn’t get to hear her sermon, but I wonder what such a list might look like. I imagine making an effort to forgive and/or seek forgiveness to reconcile with those from whom we have felt estranged would be a vital part of that list. Those estrangements leave gaping holes in our hearts, and there would be a healing peace in filling those holes before we die, or better yet, to renew or restart relationships to enjoy in our remaining years of life on earth.
At one of our Baguette Brothers men’s Bible studies, a participant shared about his visit with an elderly man named Willie on a Meals on Wheels route. Willie had recently been shot. The brother asked him, “How did you get through the pain and trauma of that experience?” Willie responded, “I knew I would be alright no matter whether I died or not because I knew I was prayed up.”
What does it mean to be ‘prayed up?’ Perhaps it means that Willie spends a lot of time talking and listening to God. It may also mean that Willie lives his life as a prayer. He does so in the ways he makes good use of each opportunity to serve someone else, or lift someone else up with encouragement as he does for this visiting Baguette Brother each week. Ultimately, it means Willie feels Christ’s abiding presence at his core and knows his life is oriented toward Jesus and will continue to be devoted to Jesus, no matter in this life or the next.
Are we prayed up?