My title for this column comes from a favorite inspirational writer of mine—Catherine Marshall. In a well-received little book from 1975 called Adventures in Prayer, Catherine details at least half a dozen types of prayer, from the “Asking Prayer” to the “Prayer of Relinquishment,” and ending with this one, the Prayer of Joyous Blessing. I once had this delightful little book almost memorized, so often did I turn to it and so much did it mean to me.
I employed the “Prayer of Joyous Blessing” in our home towards my husband when we were newly retired, newly transferred from Minnesota to Mississippi, and newly adjusting to a house that needed lots of tender loving care to become livable. I prayed very specifically to God, repeatedly, “Rain down Your blessings on Paul’s head. May he be happy!” I kept at this prayer for a long time, mainly because it seemed such a “right” prayer at the time. Gradually Paul and I adjusted to retirement, to our new Southern town, and together we put our house in order. One day along this time, after I had prayed daily for several weeks about those blessings raining down on my husband’s head, he came in early from yard work. In a wondering voice he told me that his wet head and clothes were from rain. I glanced at the window. The sun was shining. He said, “I was just standing there and rain came down just on my head, just where I was standing! I’m drenched! There wasn’t any rain anywhere else.” “Now I have to change clothes,” he complained. Immediately I thought I recognized the symbol of my answered prayer. Yes, real living water, so to speak, had rained down upon Paul’s head. God had seemingly given me a tangible sign that my oft-repeated prayer was being answered. I said a silent, “Thank you!” All of this happened almost eight years ago, toward the end of what had seemed to be a difficult transition. Life is smoother now, but, just for old time’s sake, I sometimes pray the Prayer of Joyous Blessing anew. It never fails to satisfy.