It was still dark outside, clouds obscuring the morning stars, our neighbor’s safety light creating deep shadows across our lawn. I heard two male voices outside somewhere near our back yard. The words on the page of my Bible froze. I closed my eyes and tried to understand what they were saying. They seemed to be arguing about something. “Lord, surround our home with angels,” I prayed. “Protect us.”
The story of the torture and rape of the missionary family, the Bebees, shot through my mind. My heart raced as I remembered sometimes God allows bad things to happen to his people. “Lord, I do not want you to require that of us.”
When the voices subsided, I went back to my reading. The fears that had rushed into my living room left as quickly as they had come. I did not think of them again until I read the words of Colossians 4:2, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” I immediately was reminded of what it meant to be vigilant at the memory of those voices.
That is the kind of prayer the Holy Spirit is admonishing us to practice. It is not a half hearted mumbling of words, but a sincere approach to the throne of God immersed in thanksgiving.