Do you believe in prayer? If you do, check out today's "A Little Salt" column.
Prayers are an interesting line of communication.
The Bible teaches that prayer is a person's opportunity to catch the ear of God. It's pretty awesome when you think about it.
Any time day or night, and regardless of holidays, you have the capability of sending a message to the all-powerful creator of the universe. There's no chance of getting a busy signal, encountering an answering machine or an "assistant" who demands to know the nature of your "call" before making a decision as to whether it's important enough to warrant bothering "the boss." God is always in and willing to drop everything to hear from you.
If that doesn't blow you away, try placing a call to the White House and asking for Barack. Too unrealistic? All right, put down your Courier-Post or walk away from your computer and try phoning Gov. Jay Nixon. Still aiming too high? There's no guarantee you'll be able to reach a member of the Hannibal City Council on your first attempt.
While prayer is designed as an avenue for believers to express their appreciation to God for all he does, many souls utilize prayer as solely a means to ask for their latest desire.
I must confess that I am not the prayer warrior that my wife, Nancy, is. While I make a point of saying "thanks," I'm sure I should do it more frequently. And on the flip side, while I do make requests, I try not to be a pest.
One of my most regular requests of God in recent months was that he would watch out for my son-in-law of less than a year, Shawn, during his tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Shawn was deployed last fall, just a few months after marrying my daughter, Amber. Lousy timing, but is there ever a good time for a loved one to be sent into a war zone?
At the time of their marriage, it appeared Shawn was going to be transferred to a post in Germany, and would be able to take Amber with him. But late last summer things changed dramatically, when his reassignment to Europe turned into a deployment to Afghanistan.
I was never privy to Shawn's exact location in Afghanistan. I supposed it was one of those, "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," situations. And if it meant enhancing my son-in-law's safety by me not knowing, that was fine with me.
I did come to know Shawn better during the course of his deployment. In my personal attempt to make sure he knew he had not been forgotten, I regularly sent him e-mails, which he was amazingly good about answering.
The subjects of our correspondence were nothing profound. I'd share about the weather, my latest photo excursion and how proud I was of his wife, Amber. And Shawn, who is an outstanding photographer, would offer photo tips, talk about the weather there, acknowledge some of the dignitaries he had met there and share how much he was looking forward to getting back home to Amber and their three dogs.
But as much as he missed friends and family, Shawn indicated he accepted being in that dangerous place because he felt he was helping make a difference. In many of my e-mails I conveyed from my heart how proud I was of him and his colleagues for their service.
Last Friday my prayer of safety was officially answered when Amber sent an e-mail that indicated Shawn had arrived at Lambert Airport, safe and sound.
My new prayer is that Amber and Shawn will smoothly make the transition from a couple in love that miles for months was separated by thousands of, to a husband and wife living together in harmony under the same roof.