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A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Prayer At The Pumps

April 14th, 2010

When I work in Roswell, New Mexico I always go to Sam’s Club to fill up my gas tank. Not to save a nickel a gallon, though that’s nice, too.

I go in hopes that Bob will be on duty.

It’s supposed to be a three hour drive from Lubbock to Roswell but it’s funny how the wide open spaces make 65 miles per hour appear so very slow and 75-80 miles per hour appear so very reasonable. On my first trip to Roswell last year I pulled into Sam’s Club to refuel. When I look up, the attendant is standing there. I’ve never seen an attendant at a Sam’s Club gas pump. Usually they are holed up in the little cinder block building watching TV. Yet here he stands. Baseball cap, mustache and the blue Sam’s Club vest with an I.D. badge pinned to it.

“I see by those Texas plates that you’re traveling somewhere. Is there anything you need prayer for?”

My first reaction is to look around. Isn’t that curious? Am I on camera? I’ve been to Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club more times than I can count. I expect low prices. I don’t expect their employees to pray for me.

I give Bob a closer look. He doesn’t look like a nut job. He looks normal. More importantly, he seems sincere. And with his question, definitely a cut to the chase kind of guy. I like that.

“Now that you ask, I sure do. It’s been a tough day and I could use all the prayer I can get.”

With no more small talk, Bob launched into a prayer. He prayed for me. For safe travel. For God’s intercession in the problems of my life. He asked God to bless me. Then he said, “Amen” and told me to drive safely before turning his attention to the next car.

As I opened my driver’s door I couldn’t see him but I heard him ask someone, “Is there anything you need prayer for?”

From that initial visit God has blessed me with a growing number of customers in Roswell. Wonderful, encouraging people and more reasons to return. Without fail, I always go to Sam’s to fill up my tank because I want Bob to pray for me. He prays for so many people that I’m not sure he even remembers that he’s prayed for me multiple times before. But it doesn’t matter. While the digits on the pump keep track of  the gallons and dollars and cents, Bob prays. He’s prayed for me, my kids, my safety in traveling, that God would intercede in circumstances beyond my control, and that God would bind the enemy from doing evil in those same circumstances. And every time I drive away blessed that someone cares. That someone has lifted me and my concerns up to God.

Though I can’t imagine why, not everyone wants prayer. I’ve seen people smile awkwardly and respond to Bob’s offer to pray for them with a, “Nope, I’m fine” or “I’m good, thanks.” But it doesn’t stop Bob from asking. And I bet it doesn’t stop Bob from praying. He will pray for the self-assured guy in the Chevy Avalanche anyway. Prayer doesn’t have to be loud to be effective. Who knows how many of these same people chalk up their good fortune or near misses to dumb luck, when in reality it was Bob’s silent prayers for them as they drove away that made the difference?

Roswell has plenty of good churches. We expect ministry to happen in church. That is as it should be. Yet I wonder if people realize that the gas pumps at Sam’s Club are a place where earth touches heaven? A place where problems and hurts and worries and fears are lifted up to God? A place where kind words and encouragement are spoken? A place where strangers are welcomed and cared for?

Who wouldn’t shop at a place like that?

Come to think of it, who wouldn’t go to a church like that?

And if our churches aren’t like that, why aren’t they like that?

We expect ministry to happen in church. That is as it should be.

Wherever we are and whatever we do, we can pray for others.

That is as it should be, too.

Be a Bob.

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…” – Colossians 4:2

Todd A. Thompson – ASliceOfLifeToGo.com