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Pray “Secret Agent” Prayers

Leave a “May Basket” of prayer for someone. See if any of your anonymous prayers seem to have an effect on the person you target. See if such “secret agent” prayers can actually change the climate in a room or subway car. 

Secretly praying for someone on a bus. Thinkstock.
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You probably don’t celebrate May Day, do you?

As a holiday, it dates back to pre-Christian days in many cultures and countries (particularly in Europe), as a celebration of summer’s arrival. (Once upon a time, February 1 was marked as the first day of spring, and May 1 as the first day of summer; the summer solstice, by which we herald the first day of summer, marked “midsummer.”)

Over time, May Day became a largely secular celebration in Europe and North America, where it was marked by such traditions as dancing around the “maypole” and crowning the “May Queen.”

At one time, however, a popular May Day custom was the making and giving of “May Baskets”— small arrangements of flowers or sweet treats that were left on a doorstep, while the anonymous giver rang the bell and ran off. If the person receiving the basket managed to catch the giver, however, a kiss was to be exchanged.

READ MORE: MAY DAY BASKETS AND SWEET, EASY LOVE

While the custom of “May Baskets” has disappeared, I’d like to suggest a prayer experiment that is somewhat similar. Frank Laubach wrote, in his classic volume, Prayer—The Mightiest Force in the World:

Some of us who travel much have hundreds of days when we can sit behind people in street cars, trains, stations, restaurants, concerts or lectures, and pray at the back of their heads with our eyes open to see how many of them show signs of being aware.

Some time ago, I was looking at a man sitting by an open window half a block away. I shot a rapid fire of prayer at him, saying three or four times a second: “Jesus, friend—Jesus is coming to you.” In thirty seconds that man put his head in his hands and bent down over his desk as though in prayer. Flashing hard and straight prayers in a street car while repeating, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” usually makes some of the people near you act as though they had been spoken to. If they do not respond the first time, you can return again and again, until they show signs of being “tuned in.” They look at you curiously, often smile, and frequently say something. All Christians should acquire this habit. I will try to describe how it feels. It seems to me I am pushing these prayers from my breast and fingers, as well as from my brain—from my whole nervous system. I find myself exhaling a little through my nose with each pressure. After a while, the car or room seems gently “excited,” like the magnetic field around a magnet. Everyone behaves like an old friend. People seem to like us to pray for them….

Far from making one tired, this prayer for others is the finest tonic I know. When you are utterly tired from work or study, walk out into the street and flash prayers at people. Your nerves will tingle with the inflow from heaven. Prayer “is twice blest. It blesses him that gives and him that receives.” If you want an experience full of profit and stimulus, take a day off and ride incognito in the buses or street cars of your city, flashing strong, fast prayers at people one by one, and nothing results. Do this hundreds—if possible, thousands—of times, observing what percentage of them get your broadcast.

Sound crazy? Try it. Leave a “May Basket” of prayer for someone. See if any of your anonymous prayers seem to have an effect on the person you target. See if such “secret agent” prayers can actually (as Laubach claimed) change the climate in a room or subway car.

Remember, however, that unlike a “May Basket,” you don’t owe a kiss to those who “catch” you praying for them!

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