Two Prayers at Once

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Joseph Anderson Donetti jumped up when he heard the knock on the kitchen door. The clipboard with his math paper on it and his pencil tumbled to the floor.

G.M. (Joseph’s special name for his Grandma Maddie) looked up from her painting and smiled at Joseph’s back as he disappeared down the hall. Joseph never minded anything interrupting his math!

Joseph looked through the glass window of the kitchen door. “Hi, Aunt Celeste!” he said as he opened the door.

“How’s my favorite boy child?” Aunt Celeste asked. She breezed in and gave him a quick hug. Aunt Celeste wasn’t Joseph’s real aunt. She was one of G.M.’s best friends. But both G.M. and Joseph considered her part of the family.

Joseph trailed after Aunt Celeste down the hall and into the studio. Aunt Celeste sank into the fat, overstuffed chair where Joseph had been doing his math. She looked at G.M. and moaned.

“What in the world is the matter?” G.M. asked. She rinsed her paintbrush in clean water.

“I still miss Harry so much!” Aunt Celeste said sadly. “It’s been over a year now since he died. And the days and the nights are so long without him!”

“I know what you mean,” G.M. said with sympathy. And she did. Her own husband had been dead for many years. “Maybe you need a job to occupy your time,” she suggested.

Aunt Celeste sat up straight. “Do you know how hard it is for a woman my age to get a job?” she exclaimed. “And I don’t know anything at all about computers. It seems like you have to know all about computers to get any kind of job nowadays! Job hunting is so discouraging!”

Joseph studied Aunt Celeste’s face. She did look sad and discouraged. He wished there was something he could do to help her. Suddenly he knew there was! “We could pray for a job for you!” Joseph exclaimed. “God knows what would make you happy. We could pray about it!”

G.M. looked at Joseph with approval. “That’s a great idea!” she said. She squeezed the water out of her paintbrush, pinched the damp bristles into shape, and stood it, bristles-up, in a jar with other brushes. “Let’s pray right now,” she said.

Joseph, G.M., and Aunt Celeste knelt together on the rug beside the over–stuffed chair. G.M. prayed first. She told the Lord that her friend Celeste was lonely and discouraged. She asked Him to help her find a job if that was His will for her life.

Little tears trickled down Aunt Celeste’s cheeks as she prayed. She told the Lord how much she missed her husband, Harry. She asked Him to help her find new direction and a way to serve Him and be useful.

Joseph prayed too. He asked the Lord to help Aunt Celeste find the perfect job. Then he opened his eyes. “Maybe you don’t need a real job for money!” he exclaimed. “Maybe you could do one of those jobs where you don’t get paid. I forgot what you call it.”

“Do you mean a volunteer job?” Aunt Celeste asked, wiping her face with a tissue she found in her pocket.

“Yeah!” Joseph said. “I saw on TV that Jacksonville Elementary School needs people like grandparents to help the teachers. To go and listen to the kids read and stuff! You could do that! The kids would like you! I like you!”

Aunt Celeste looked at G.M. One of her old, merry smiles lit up her face. “You know, that might be a good idea!” she exclaimed. “I’m not too old for a job like that. And I wouldn’t need to know how to use a computer. And I love reading!”

Joseph and G.M. walked Aunt Celeste to the back door. They watched her get into her car and waved as she drove away. “That was a great idea you had,” G.M. said. “I wonder what will come of it.” She ruffled Joseph’s hair. “Now get yourself back in that chair and finish your math!”

For a while it was quiet in the studio. G.M. painted contentedly. Joseph wrote numbers on his paper and sometimes erased.

Joseph jumped up when the telephone rang. His clipboard and pencil clattered to the floor. He followed the sound of the rings into the kitchen and found the cordless phone beside the potted geranium on the table. “Hello,” he said and listened. His eyes began to sparkle. “Just a minute,” he said and jogged down the hall.

“Guess what!” Joseph exclaimed, dropping the telephone on G.M.’s work table. “Aunt Celeste went to Jacksonville Elementary. And the secretary called one of the teachers and told her that her prayer had been answered! Somebody was volunteering to help her in her classroom! Just think—God answered our prayers and a teacher’s prayer at the same time! Isn’t that neat?”

G.M. grinned at Joseph and picked up the phone. “That sounds just like something God would do!” she said.

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