I’ve accumulated some regulars - people who stop by fairly often because I’m on their way to work or some other commitment in the neighborhood. One of my regulars began as an inquirer. “What’s a blessing?” she asked. She said she’d never had any exposure to religion and was very curious. “Well, a blessing is a pronouncement of God’s goodness while also being a request for God’s favor or protection. It’s a type of prayer. Do you need a prayer? Maybe for yourself or a loved one?”
For the next several weeks, she brought a multitude of prayer requests. Her father's health was failing. Her family life felt hectic and disjointed, with everyone pulled in different directions. A friend's daughter was cutting herself. Each week we prayed, and each week the look of curiosity on her face lessened. She became more earnest than inquisitive. A sign of faith perhaps? Then her work situation changed, and I haven’t seen her since.
I don’t know if this woman has made it to church, opened a Bible, or will ever do either of these things. But I would guess she’s offered a prayer or two, and hopefully several. Prayer is a fitting introduction to Christianity. More often than not, life’s difficulties are what drive us to God. And approaching God from a place of need is one of the most faithful postures we can take.
An atheist-turned-priest once told me, "You can never truly understand Christianity until you're in it." My inquirer-turned-regular certainly dipped her toe in. My prayer is that she'll take the plunge.