A Life that Makes Prayer Come Naturally

Alf Means was a hero of mine. I didn't know him very well personally, but he was a good friend of my grandfather's, and once a year at Bloys Camp Meeting I would have the opportunity to listen to hear him make an off-the-cuff comment about life with God that would stop me in my tracks. Mr. Means was a lifelong cattle rancher in a very small West Texas town (very small- the population in 2000 was 187), and my family became acquainted with his family generations ago at Bloys. One of my favorite things about going there each year is a men's meeting where everyone has a chance to say something if they wish, but special deference is always given to the old-timers to hear some of their old cowboy stories or whatever type of comment they might like to make. At those meetings, I always looked forward to Mr. Means' turn to speak, because he would either say something with his great wit or just make general comments about life that gave the rest of us a window into the soul of a man who had spent a lifetime living in a deep friendship with God.

2011 was his last year at Bloys, as he died a couple of months after Camp Meeting that year at age 91. The last comment I know of from him at that men's meeting was a great one for him to leave on. I wasn't there that night, but a friend who was there retold the story:

Apparently the men who were there that night were talking about ways that they tried to devote their days to God. Some of them were saying things like how after getting up in the morning, it's a good idea to pray that God would help them to live that day devoted to him, that for that day they could steer clear of temptation, love others well, etc. It's good advice, and we'd all certainly do well to develop such a practice.

But when it came around to Mr. Means, he said, "You know, I don't really do that. It just comes natural."

I want to have that kind of prayerful life. If I reach my 90s like he did, I want to have spent enough time in intentional prayer and soaking my mind in the Scriptures, that eventually the distinctions between prayer and the things that "just come natural" in my life no longer exist.