Recently in the Super Walmart parking lot I discovered how powerfully we can communicate without saying a single word . It was an 85 degree afternoon and I had just purchased a week’s worth of groceries. I unloaded the bags into the trunk of my Toyota sedan – the cherry vanilla ice cream Gordon is crazy about, the healthy red pepper humus for me. It was over $80.00 worth of groceries. I got into the car ready to hurry home before the cold food got too hot. I turned the ignition. Absolutely nothing happened. Not even a little cough in the engine.
Dead battery maybe? I know next to nothing about cars. I was miles from home and Gordon works way off in downtown Atlanta so I couldn’t call him to come to my rescue.
Since I didn’t want the cherry vanilla ice cream to go soupy in the trunk I was going to have to ask a stranger for help. There weren’t many people in the parking lot. Besides, I hate asking for help. Then I had an idea.
Gordon makes sure all of our cars have a set of jumper cables in the trunk. I opened the trunk and rummaged under the groceries. I unzipped the cables from the pouch like I actually knew how to use them, then went around to the hood. It took me a few tries to figure out how to undo the latch. That’s all I did – popped open the hood and stood there with jumper cables in my hand making a wordless statement of need. Anybody could take one look at me and realize that you can’t use jumper cables without the help of another driver.
Sure enough, the moment I had the scene set up a man and his wife came up out of nowhere and offered to help. They pulled their Jeep around next to my car. The man went clamp, clamp to my car and then clamp, clamp to his car and I turned the key and my engine went rrrrrr. I told the couple they were angels. Then I waved and drove off, Gordon’s cherry vanilla ice cream still nicely frozen.
As I drove home I marveled at the fact that it’s possible to communicate so powerfully, precisely and with perfect success without forming a single word. Often we experience this wordless yet powerful communication in prayer as well. There are many times during prayer when we simply show God what we mean. Maybe we raise our hands up to Him when we need something. Maybe tears come to our eyes when we’re overwhelmed with gratitude. Maybe we simply sit silently in an empty sanctuary and feel His presence and enjoy being still and silent there with God. Next time when words fail you during prayer, just show Him how you feel. And strangely enough, without saying a single word, we’re able to understand each other perfectly.