Monday, May 20, 2013

Keeping the Path Cleared

Several weeks ago, I heard and saw several announcements about a new "prayer trail," a path that had been built through a wooded area near a church building. Several markers, each bearing a quote from a passage in the Psalms, lay along the trail; their presence would prompt prayer-walkers to pause and pray on a topic suggested on the marker under the biblical quote. A grand opening ceremony welcomed people to start using the trail. Yesterday, for the first time, I walked the trail with several friends. We were impressed with the markers; they encouraged prayer and reflection. The serene setting of the woods helped, also. However, no pavement, gravel, or wood chips had been laid on the trail. Sections were a little muddy; one could tell that the trail would be impassable when it rained. My training in military land navigation came in handy in a section where the trail was hard to detect; grass and weeds had grown and now obscured it. Attractive signs periodically reminded us that we were on the right path; unfortunately, we needed the signs. My take: The prayer trail is a good idea, provided that it receives regular use and maintenance. Its state reminds me that any plan needs follow-through to succeed. The prayer trail is like other paths that emerge and then disappear in our lives. We have great ideas, but then having begun, fail to do the maintenance work that our plan needs to succeed. Hopefully, people will continue to trek the trail and they (we?) or others will do the mowing, digging, or paving that the trail needs to remain viable. Meanwhile, I plan to keep on praying. I hope that you will do the same.

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