“But one thing is for certain – our need for love, our need for each other does not change. And that’s the painful truth, the raw beauty of being human. We hurt, we love, we endure, we continue – and on any given moment of any given day – we rejoice. Praying for Strangers has allowed me those moments of rejoicing in being human.” So says the author River Jordan one year after the debut of her second book, Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit.
I appreciated this book for the motivation instilled in me to think more of my fellow people each day. I may not take the challenge of praying everyday for a stranger as River did, but I have been more cognizant of my interactions with those around me. River chose to begin this resolution one New Year’s when she had much on her own plate that needed prayer. She selfishly could have focused on her own needs such as her two sons being deployed, one to Afghanistan and one to Iraq. Instead River began praying every day for someone she crossed paths with and then telling them she would be doing this. Many times she approached them with, “Would you mind telling me your name? I have this daily resolution to pray for a stranger and you are my person today” The reactions and responses she received were nearly always of gratitude and love. The short converstaions that followed were such a boost to her spirit that River was encouraged to continue all year. Many shared particular prayer needs and their short interactions became sweet memories and wishes to see them again. We go through life depersonalizing those around us by never acknowedging their existence. The clerk at Wal-mart checking us out could be a robot for all the human interaction we have with them. River Jordan’s book helped me to realize the worth of each person and the hope we can give those around us just by sharing a smile, a few words and a prayer. Praying for Stangers is one book that won’t be read and forgotten.