The guerrilla must move among the people
as a fish swims in the sea.
This is my confession:
I am a guerrilla prayer.
I never intended to become one.
But one day I felt this strong call,
and after receiving it,
I’ve remained steadfast
and not backed away.
Like most guerrillas in the news these days,
I blend in to the surroundings.
Then I suddenly pop up in unexpected places,
at unpredictable times.
I do what I have felt called to do,
after which I disappear into the background,
watching for my next opportunity.
Airports are a common site
for these guerrilla acts of mine.
So are downtown sidewalks.
Sometimes I take advantage of the roads
where I happen to be driving.
As I sit somewhere, I latch my eyes on a person
who’s walking along or sitting nearby.
I get the barest sense of who they are,
then I begin praying for them.
Usually I keep my eyes open and on them
as I pray.
No two prayers are ever alike.
“Lord, surround her with love.”
“O Divine, be with him now in his stress;
may peace come over him in due time.”
“Holy One, protect this one;
she needs it.”
Some prayers are longer
should I be close enough to learn more
about what is going on in a person’s life—
if I overhear a conversation, for example.
Once I O’Hare Airport,
I prayed for a woman the whole time
she sat crying into her cell phone
ten feet away from me.
My words to her would have been inappropriate,
as would have been a touch on her arm.
So I chose instead the stealth tactic
of sudden, silent prayer.
It’s surprisingly effective.