Two stories linked recently by Julie D., Strangers Who Pray and Prayers in the Parking Lot reminded me of my own experience of praying with a stranger. I was hiking in Glacier National Park with my dad and sibling and they were all moving much faster than I was. In fact, I started to experience some altitude sickness. I had to sit down on the side of the trail because I was almost blacking out.
Frustrated and scared because I couldn’t catch up and had been left behind, I started stopping strangers coming down the trail, asking if they’d seen my family. I kept thinking they might notice my absence and return for me, but at the same time feared they would not. (They didn’t.)
Finally, a man coming down the trail noticed my distress. He gave me a sip of his water (our water was being carried by my brothers and sister and I had none with me.) and then he opened up a small Bible and prayed with me. I don’t recall what the passage was, I didn’t recall ever having heard it before and I never could find it again. But it was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. It was beautiful and I was filled with a supernatural peace. Once I was calm, he stood and took his leave. Eventually my family returned with stories about the summit. The peaceful feeling remained with me through that night, though not completely, I was also pretty angry that my family had never turned back and at their blindness to my distress.
To this day I am convinced that stranger was an angel. Not that he wasn’t also a man, he probably had a wife and kids waiting for him at a campsite below; but that he was God’s messenger to me at that moment in time.