Youth Matters: Awkward prayer

By Sam Clear, Director of the Office of Youth Evangelisation

When I was younger I would dream up wilderness adventures. As a university student I saw an amazing photograph of Lake Oberon in the Western Arthurs and decided that I wanted to see it in real life. I didn’t have the gear for an overnight trek, so I convinced my running partner at the time, and best friend, Marty, to pack a small backpack and join me for a marathon run to the top of the Western Arthurs for that view. I picked him up at 4am on a Saturday morning, drove for two and a half hours to Lake Pedder (Marty slept the whole way) and arrived at sunrise. We prepared our gear, checked the paper map one last time, and ran.

We made it all of fifteen metres before Marty trod on a tree root and rolled his ankle. He sat on the ground clutching his foot as I stood over him trying to shift from, “You idiot,” towards something compassionate. After a few minutes Marty grimaced that, “If you want to do this run, you’d better start praying for me.”

I laughed and replied, “Yep,” but Marty stared up at me and reiterated with a, “Well come on then.” Up until that moment, whenever someone asked for prayer, it was met with an, “Of course”, but that was all. Occasionally I might have prayed for them that night, but most of the time nothing followed beyond the conversational pleasantries.

Marty was asking me to pray right there and then. I felt awkward, “What, you mean, pray out loud for you?”

“Yep,” he replied, “unless you just want to go home”. Other than the sign of the cross I really didn’t know where to start; and Marty was just staring at me.

Slowly, but surely, for the first time in my life, I prayed for someone in their company. I prayed for healing. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was taken off-guard when Marty hopped back to his feet, tested the ankle and nonchalantly declared, “Yeah that’s good actually. I think I can go on.”

We only made it the foot of the Arthurs’ that day. The track was so muddy that our pace was dismally slow. I’ve still never seen Lake Oberon. I was however left contemplating a more profound view – was Marty’s ankle injury just not as bad as he first thought, or is prayer real? I have since seen the beauty of prayer lived, well beyond rolled ankles. Look for someone to pray with. Take courage.

Tags: Bellerive-Lindisfarne, Bridgewater-Brighton, Burnie-Wynyard, Campbell Town, Central Tasmania, Circular Head, Claremont, Flinders Island, George Town, Glenorchy, Hobart, Huon Valley, King Island, Kings Meadows, Kingston-Channel, Launceston, Meander Valley, Mersey-Leven, Moonah-Lutana, Northern Deanery, Richmond, Sandy Bay, Scottsdale, South Hobart, Southern Deanery, St Mary's, St Mary’s Cathedral, West Coast, West Tamar, Youth Evangelisation