So I was sitting on a bench in the shade outside the public library, and this woman came up to me and said this: “Can I pray for you?”
I was a wee bit taken aback by the sheer impertinence of the request. What made her single me out as the recipient of her prayers (there were other people sitting nearby)? What made her think her prayers would be particularly helpful? What made her believe it was perfectly appropriate to interrupt my reading so she could address a request to her Invisible Friend in the Clouds to look over me? How would she have felt if I’d interrupted her prayers in order to recite a passage from the novel I was reading?
But at the same time I was sort of touched that she wanted to help a stranger, even if the stranger didn’t ask for, want, or need her help. While I found her arrogance and impertinence annoying and offensive, I was sort of moved by her sincerity.
So I said “Sure, go ahead on, pray away.” And she did. Then smiled and went away, leaving me sitting there feeling both touched and annoyed, and more than a little creeped out.