A couple of months ago, my son and his family moved to a city in another part of the province. He got a great new job, found a beautiful home to rent, and already was making new contacts and connections. Life can hardly get any better!
Some parts of the new house needed to be repainted, so before the actual moving day came, my son, his brother and I went down for the day to do that. By the time the job was completed it was late in the evening. We were hungry!
Being young men in their 20’s, my sons suggested we go to a pub around the corner. Good choice, clearly, because both the food and drink were fantastic. Before we tucked into our meals, one of the boys said, “Dad, would you please pray a blessing over our meal?”
It’s a little unusual to pray in a pub, but probably it shouldn’t be: the Lord provides all we have been given, he is Master over all people and places, and He enjoys seeing his people having a good time. So I said, “Sure.”
Pausing before the prayer, I thought about what I should pray for. Thanks for the food and drink, of course. Thanks for the new job and new home, of course. Thanks that the three of us could be together and enjoy each other’s company, of course. I was quite overwhelmed with all the kindnesses that the God has shown us.
So I prayed. Out loud, To the Great Provider. To the Master whose Spirit was in the place.
I prayed for those things for which I was grateful. I prayed a blessing upon the other patrons and the servers in the establishment. And when the prayer was done, I said to God, “Good bye” instead of the more usual prayer-ending “Amen.”
My sons looked at me rather quizzically. “Good bye?” they repeated.
To be honest, I didn’t mean to end the prayer that way. I was just overwhelmed by all the gifts God had given, so aware of his presence, and so appreciative of his kindness to us. So, the more conversational “Good bye” slipped out, instead of the more traditional “Amen.”
“Amen” is a wonderful Hebrew word that means “So shall it be.” And as such, it’s a totally appropriate word to use to end our times of prayer. But maybe I stumbled onto something good: we can talk to God so naturally and so regularly that we can say to him “Talk to you later” or “Good bye” or “Thanks a lot” when our time speaking together comes to its conclusion.
I think the Lord would like that.