PRAYER PARTNER (SHORT STORY)
This is a fictional story about friendship, prayer partnership and some challenges that come with knowing each other’s secrets. Do comment and share the story when you are through. You are blessed!
I’m starting to rethink this whole prayer partner thing after the nasty experience I recently had with my friend, Vivian. It began on our very first meeting two Saturdays ago. After exchanging our prayer points (to familiarise ourselves with the issues to be prayed for), she pointed to the third item on my list, a frown on her face.
“What is that?” she asked, with her scowl in place.
“Incontinence,” I read from where she pointed. “You know, like when the stuff gets out before you let it.” I was not really comfortable having that conversation.
“I know what it means,” Vivian pushed on. “What I don’t understand is what it has to do with you. You’re less than 20.”
“Well, I have it. Not the badly leaking kind, but the smell and slight discoloration are there in my underwear; from the rear, you know.”
“You need a doctor. It could be something bad, something that could get worse.”
“I doubt it. Well, not unless I take that route again.”
“So you know how you got it.” Her look said, “It’s all your fault then.” I certainly didn’t like being judged and I wasn’t obliged to satisfy her curiosity, but I felt an explanation will gain her sympathy and we could join hands and pray earnestly about the issue.
“Before I got saved, I went out with this guy who liked to try different things sexually. I wanted to please him so much, so I let him do the anal stuff sometimes.”
“Yuck, that is so disgusting!”
(Related: 7 Proven Guidelines For Godly Dating)
Although I wasn’t expecting Vivian’s approval, that was hardly the response I anticipated.
“Okay, that’s enough! Can we get on with the prayer now?” We were on the verge of quarreling, and what sort of power could our prayer have if we were not in agreement? So I added, “That is all behind me now. I heard someone preach that God could fix our broken parts, so I decided to include it in my list.”
“Sure, He can do all things,” Vivian affirmed. “But have you considered surgery?”
“My goodness, it’s not that serious really. It’s very, very mild incontinence. I just want to be perfect again in that orifice but I’m afraid that if I let doctors start poking around down there, they might do some more damage.”
Vivian shrugged. And we went on to pray with the ACTS formula we learnt in our fellowships: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and finally, Supplication.
Vivian and I are interns from different schools, serving with a computer firm in Owerri. We had been drawn to each other because of our modest dressing and zeal to learn. While other interns were more interested in enjoying themselves, we were always punctual to work, handled our assignments with thoroughness and put in extra hours when necessary.
I invited her to my church after our third week at work. It was a youth programme on doing exploits through prayer. One of the guest preachers emphasised that when it comes to prayer, two are better than one. She identified the benefits of prayer partnerships between spouses, siblings and friends. It all came down to joining forces to get the answers we need from God. There and then, Vivian and I decided to become prayer partners and meet every Saturday by 2 p.m. at her house on Wetheral Road before parting for choir practice at our respective churches by 4 p.m.
Although her questions about my incontinence had initially introduced some awkwardness into our first meeting, I thought everything was okay and we could continue our partnership. But in the week that followed, Vivian seemed kind of cool towards me. We were paired to work with different staff of the firm on a programming project, so we neither had time to chat nor I to guess what caused her sudden reserve.
Last Saturday, I knocked on her door and it took a while for her to answer it. She’s usually home alone on Saturdays because her parents are traders and her older siblings are married. Plus she should have been expecting me. When she finally opened the door to their flat and let me in, I didn’t need to be told that I wasn’t welcome. And I got mad, really, really mad, because it dawned on me what her chilliness was all about.
“I take exception to your attitude, Vivian. This is childishness and silliness rolled into one.” She just ignored me and sat staring at the TV which I wasn’t going to let her watch. “You should at least have told me how you feel so that I don’t waste my time coming here.”
“I’m sorry, I hoped you would take a hint. Me and you praying together isn’t such a good idea.”
“Really? And why is that? Because you think you’re better than me? Because I admitted I had anal sex, now I’m the devil?”
“Stop saying sex. It’s not something you should be saying anyhow.”
“I’m not saying it on the street. I’m talking to you, my supposed friend and prayer partner. And by the way, it’s better to talk about it than pretend you don’t want it and think about it endlessly.”
“I know you’re not talking about me!”
“Oh, am I not? You think you’re better than me, because I had anal sex. You think being a virgin gives you bragging rights. But you’re only a virgin physically. Mentally, you’re just as bad as I am. I mean, as bad as I WAS.” I paused to let that sink in. “Masturbation,” I recalled part of her fifth prayer point. “You do it every night, remember? And you fantasise about different guys. So, who’s really better than who?”
“You’re using my prayer point against me.”
“Only just as much as you’re using mine against me.”
“But how could you let someone do that stuff to you?” She cringed as she said this.
“Listen, I don’t want to discuss that anymore. I think it’s a good idea to stop praying together. Let’s just promise each other we’ll keep our secrets secret.”
(Related: 7 Ways To Know A True Friend)
“Anna, please sit down.” That was a surprise. “I think I took this thing farther than I should. Maybe this was a test and I failed. Can you forgive me?” I was taken aback. Having been put on the defensive, my goal was to hurt Vivian as much as she’d hurt me and get the he#l out of there. I wasn’t quite prepared for a reconciliation. And I was no longer in the mood for prayer.
“Can we just skip the prayer for today?”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea. I think we should settle this matter now and forget it ever happened.”
“Well, I’m not quite ready for that,” I replied, and left for home. I was so angry I missed choir practice that day too.
Today is Monday and I’ve avoided Vivian so far. I’m no longer angry. In fact, I feel ashamed that I let such a small matter get me overwrought. But it didn’t seem so small then. And I still haven’t decided if I still want us to be prayer partners. Not sure I want any of my secrets out anymore. Neither do I want to be in on anyone else’s. For as Samuel Johnson averred, “To keep your secret is wisdom; but to expect others to keep it is folly.”
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2018
Hope you enjoyed the story. Do stay for a chat.
I hope you don’t think Anna’s stance means we don’t need prayer partners. That will be like throwing away the baby with the bath water.
But what kind of ground rules could we follow if we want to get the best out of our prayer partnerships?
Who do you think would make the best prayer partner: sibling, spouse, parent, friend, work colleague?
Do you have any advice for Anna and Vivian arising from their words and actions in this story?
You are richly blessed in Jesus’ name.
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