I know I’m not Superman. I learned that little lesson the hard way a mere five year ago when I jumped off Kipu Falls in Kauai. You see, I was younger then, and I thought I was invincible. So when two of my fraternity brothers launched themselves off a rope swing and landed safely in the water below, my competitive self wanted to show them up. I wanted to run, launch myself off the cliff like Superman, and end with a double flip. Yeah, that never happened. Instead, I slipped on moss and was about to flip over the cliff and land on the sharp rocks below. My survival instincts kicked in and I grabbed hold of a metal ladder installed on the side of the cliff.
But because it happened so fast, the ladder punctured the palm of my hand and sliced into the flesh. Blood started gushing out. I took off my black tank top and wrapped it around my injured hand. The pain was excruciating. While my fraternity brothers and I hiked back down to our car to find the nearest hospital (Wilcox Health Hospital, the same hospital that treated Bethany Hamilton after losing her arm in a shark attack), I began praying. God, help me get through this.
The doctor came in with terrifying news. “If your hand was sliced a couple more centimeters,” he began. “You would have lost the use of your thumb.” Like Golem in Lord of the Rings, I found myself saying, My thumb? My precious. No, not my precious thumb!
The doctor proceeded with a lecture about safety and how often mainlanders (people who don’t live in Hawaii) jumped off those very same falls and ended up losing an appendage, getting paralyzed, or worse—dying! I considered myself lucky. Blessed. Thank God!
I’m not the only one who prays. Apparently, Americans like to pray. According to a Barna research, slightly more than four out of five adults in the U.S. (84%) claim they had prayed in the past week. We pray for a lot of things like finding a parking spot during Memorial Day sales, or even just finding your car keys in general so that you could drive to places. Of course, we also pray for good health and lots and lots of wealth (Prosperity Gospel, anyone?). Maybe we’re a little self-centered when we pray.
You might tell me, hey, I’m offended by that statement. I pray for other people. I pray for my (insert my favorite sports team name) to win. And well, I wouldn’t put it pass you–I pray for my Bruins to beat the Trojans all the time. And last year, God answered that prayer. But sadly, it sometimes takes a national tragedy for us to actually pause for a moment to come together to pray. We pray for strength, for encouragement, even for unity. And while a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll found that about 83% of Americans believe God answers prayers, I wonder how many pray not just during desperation, but also during celebration.
The month of May deserves some celebratory mentions here at Convivial Gentleman. We’ve been around for six months now and readership has grown. And so today, during the National Day of Prayer and after Obama’s Presidential Proclamation, I prayed out of gratitude and for direction, not just for my life, but for where Convivial Gentleman to go. And while not all my prayers have been answered (yet), I found the direction for where CG would go during prayer. The direction came from the word, “Amen.”
According to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, the Greek word “Amen” was transliterated directly from the Hebrew word for “believe” (amam). Essentially, it means, “Surely” or “Truly.” Today, we also use it as a response of agreement, like, “The economy needs to get better. Can I get an amen?”
And so this month on Convivial Gentleman, you’ll see posts that will hopefully get you to say, “Amen!” You’ll meet Andrew Park, CEO and founder of Gallant Suits, who uses men’s fashion as a statement to do good for others, as well as reshapes how masculinity is viewed today. Can I get an amen? You’ll also learn more about the horrors of human and sex trafficking, and what you can do to help end it. Can I get an amen? And hopefully, during this month focused on prayer, you too will be transformed. At least, that’s my prayer.