Sherry Hopkins column

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 11, 2011

Get the picture? … by Sherry Hopkins

Immediate response to prayer request prompts inner search

She was down on her knees when I first saw her and nobody seemed to be helping. She was much younger than me and appeared to have fallen.

I finished paying for my purchases at the checkout and slowly pushed my buggy her way. As I approached she was now almost in a sitting position. Still no one even so much as glanced her way.

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As I got closer she seemed to be trying to get up and I asked her if she was okay.

“Oh yes,” she replied with a smile, “The cashier just told me something that needed immediate prayer.”

I nodded to her in agreement or astonishment or just as someone not sure of how to respond.

It’s not every day or in my case any day that you find someone on their knees in a crowded store locked in prayer.

But why didn’t anyone ask about her, I wondered? Were they all oblivious to a woman on the floor in the middle of the checkout area? Do they see this behavior every day and know that it was a spiritual “falling down” and not a physical one like I had first thought?

Surely not, I thought. I pondered the question as I went to my car, thinking how remarkable it actually was.

Gosh, I rarely see folks on their knees in church where you wouldn’t normally get a second look while you prayed.

What had the cashier told the woman to make her drop to the ground and lift up prayer at that very instant?

Curiosity had a hold of me and I scanned the parking lot for a glimpse of the praying woman.

I wanted to ask her those questions myself. But I had no right to interfere in something so private as a prayer request and subsequent prayer, did I? Of course not.

I have had friends ask me to pray for them before, sometimes spilling all the details and sometimes just asking for an “unspoken request” prayer, saving us both from details that might be embarrassing or troubling. I have always honored those requests and felt pleased to have been asked.

But I have never instantly kneeled in prayer in public.

Just because I unabashedly reveal all my faults and fumblings on this page of the local paper doesn’t mean that I don’t have a little humility in me.

But it doesn’t take humility to drop to ones knees in public or does it?

The humbleness this dear woman exhibited was astounding to me. To lower oneself in the presence of God and to lift someone up in prayer is the pure definition of humility.

But it also takes power to do what she did as well. Power that comes from a belief, a faith in God and his ability to answer your prayers and to shelter you in his arms as you attend to His work. A power that prevents you from at that moment recognizing anything other than His love and forgiveness and the task at hand. This lady was a prayer warrior.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see more folks on their knees in prayer?

That answer should start with me.

You get the picture.

(Contact award-winning columnist Sherry Hopkins at