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Religion: A Pastor Ponders

Simple prayers

By Pastor William Jenkins

May 2, 2007

League City News - League City Methodist Church Picture

Sometimes when I say a prayer of thanksgiving for a meal I remember Emory Knox. Emory and Ruth Knox had a small dairy in the farming community of Fancher, Illinois. I was the week-end preacher for the community church while my wife finished her degree in Greenville, Ill. Remembering the Knoxís always brings to mind other folks we knew at that time and whom we treasure in our hearts: Bud and Marie Holly, the Miller family, Bess, Ralph and Delia Lape, and John, who grew popcorn. Upon leaving church one Sunday morning John said to me, "Sorry preacher, I worked late last night and dozed off during your sermon. But donít worry, I didnít miss a word you said."

There had once been a Mennonite church in the community and Emory and Ruth were the last remaining Mennonites. I learned this one morning when I asked, "Brother Knox, will you open our service with a word of prayer." There was silence. Thinking he was hard of hearing I repeated my request a bit louder; still no response. The silence was awkward so I decided to give the prayer myself. After the service someone whispered to me, "Emory Knox does not pray in public." I was the last one in the church to know this.

After the Sunday service my wife and I would be guests for lunch in one of the members home. Ruth and Emory would have us over regularly. At the table Emory would offer this prayer, "We thank Thee, O Lord, for the bounty of this meal. May we always be thankful for your many blessings. Amen." Every time we sat around the Knoxís table this is the prayer Emory prayed. It never varied. I never heard Emory say any other prayer than this.

I think of Emory whenever I offer the "blessing" for a meal because my own prayer seems never to vary very much. I remember that Emory Knoxís prayer was the holy habit of a grateful heart. Just as the words of the prayer never changed, the gratitude of his heart never changed.

Jesus said that God is not impressed with the amount of words we use in our prayers but with the sincerity of the heart that prays them. Simple prayers from the heart are always heard in heaven. Thank you, Emory Knox.

League City United Methodist Church is located at 1411 Main Street (FM 518), one block east of Interstate 45. For information, call the church offices at 281-332-1557 or visit the website at


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