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In Our Prayers

On a visit with her grandparents, writer Brittany Shoot witnesses the heartfelt beauty of epic, narrative prayer.

Practice

Illustration Credit: in a time when wishing mattered, by Amanda Blake

“Honey, do you want to join us for prayer?” Grandpa asked. Through the window of my grandparents’ trailer along a Florida state highway, the evening sun glowed orange on the horizon. Local news blared on the living room TV. In the bedroom, I could hear my 82-year-old Gram hoisting herself onto her creaky bed.In my other life as a journalist in San Francisco, I don’t pray. Attending church is a compromise to please my grandparents or in-laws; blessedly, I’m rarely asked to go. But my grandparents and I are unusually close. I visit them two weeks a year and call at least once a week. Grandpa, a retired minister, confides in me about his financial troubles. When she’s upset about a rift in the family, Gram calls me in tears because I’m the only one who can soothe her. Even though we don’t often pray together when I visit, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. So I sat down on a wooden rocker next to Gram’s bed and clasped her papery, pale left hand in my tanned, freckled right one. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this time together,” Grandpa began, launching into a recitation of our day’s …

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