Updated: Jun 14, 2018
Some years ago there was a movie called, “Pay It Forward.” The basic theme of the movie came from a movement that had been happening in drive-thru lanes, laundromats, hair salons, and even with police officers who had pulled people over for traffic violations. The selfless premise of this movement of service to strangers was to do unto others…even if they have done nothing for you, or done nothing to deserve this special treatment from you. That’s a cool concept that should ring a bell with us believers.
During the “Pay It Forward” movement, people would anonymously pay for the meals of the people that were in fast food drive-thru lanes behind them, or they would pick up the meal tab for unsuspecting diners in restaurants. Folks would put quarters in washing machines or dryers when unsuspecting people doing their laundry looked away. Others would cough up the cash to pay for someone’s day at the salon while the customer was still under the dryer, or had their hair up in curlers (do people still do that?). Cops would give pieces of candy, or gift certificates for admission to the zoo, to traffic law violators instead of the traffic tickets they actually deserved. What a concept; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I had thought that the Pay It Forward trend had died and gone to heaven until Maria and I went to dinner one evening last week prior to attending a midweek Bible study.
My wife and I sat in a small booth in a loud and busy restaurant and we talked about a meeting I was in earlier that day. This earlier lunch meeting had been with a man that was hurting from the heartache of a journey through divorce that he was traveling through once again in his life. He was in pain, but he paid for my lunch any way. Guess that was his way of Paying It Forward a little. Maria and I discussed the wisdom that the Holy Spirit had led me to give this broken man. My wife and I discussed how I had prayed for what this man really needed instead of what he thought he really wanted. Then Maria and I prayed. We prayed for this family going through divorce. We prayed for the folks that would be hearing God’s word in the Bible study we would be attending later that evening. Then we prayerfully thanked God for our lives, our marriage, and the food we were about to eat. There is Power in Prayer, even if we don’t always see it right away.
At the end of the meal, the waitress brought us our check. To our surprise and wonder, the woman who had been sitting alone and barely noticed in the booth next to us and eating a much smaller meal than we had enjoyed, had paid our bill in full! Additionally, she had put a note to us on the paid receipt. It said simply, “I heard your prayer and wanted to encourage you to continue the work that God has started in you.” We were speechless! She had done more than pay our bill; she had encouraged us with her simple act of generosity. We did nothing to deserve this mercy that had been freely given to us. She did for us exactly what God calls ALL of us to do for each other…she cared...she encouraged…she gave freely and generously. Maybe, just as someone had done for her. What a concept!
There is a tremendous amount of Power in Prayer. Sometimes, that “Power,” is more than enough to pay for your dinner! It could definitely pay for your life! Next time you are out, take care of the folks around you. You just never know when you might be entertaining angels. I pray you will.