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As I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect the views of The Banner.

The day after his husband, Chris Hyndman, died, I prayed for Steven Sabados. I’d never prayed for a celebrity before, never mind a gay one. Steven and Chris were a notable power couple in the Canadian design world; Chris passed away on August 3, 2015.

I’ve had a lifelong passion for art. My final English essay in high school was a weighty tome on modern art in which I enthusiastically outlined all that I’d absorbed over months of research. I got an “A.” It was an esoteric topic for a kid with Dutch immigrant parents.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that HGTV’s design shows became my guilty pleasure in adulthood. Interior decorating, luxe furniture, curb appeal—all of it whispered seductively. As a Christian school teacher, I felt abashed about my attraction to the upscale world of design, so far removed from the Christian stewardship principles I espouse and the “make-do” ethos in which I was raised.

Steven and Chris were my favourite design celebrities. I followed their joint career assiduously—”Designer Guys,” “Design Rivals,” “Chic with Steven and Chris,” and their talk show, “Steven and Chris.” Their earliest television shows did not allude to the fact that they were gay or a couple. But when I found out that they were married, I was not surprised. Their onscreen interaction revealed that kind of affectionate rapport.

I was watching the Canadian morning news when I learned the news about Chris’s sudden demise. I blinked back unexpected tears. Spontaneously, I prayed that God would comfort Steven and their family and friends.

Perhaps you are thinking this post is going to be about same sex marriage, but it’s not. It’s about this: widening my prayers. For most of my life, my prayers were narrowly focused. Rather selfish, though I wouldn’t have thought so back then. They were primarily about my own world—my family, my Christian school, my church, my community. Now, stumblingly, my prayers are becoming more inclusive, encompassing the whole prismatic world intensely loved by God—every galaxy and star, every babbling baby and muttering homeless woman, every spitting llama and chirping cicada, every orchid and dandelion, every foamy wave lapping every shining pebble on every beach and every winking grain of sand.

For some time, I’ve been using Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year by Philip Reinders for my evening devotions. Its daily suggestions for intercession have been instrumental in expanding my prayer life, incorporating geographical regions such as the continent of Europe or Asia, people trapped in prostitution and the sex industry, persons working in the medical profession or in theater, individuals employed in prisons or incarcerated.

These prompts push me to pray outside my comfort zone. And when I do, when I give myself a moment to ponder, allow myself a pause in which the Holy Spirit can move, a profounder generosity swells my soul. It’s God himself, transforming me into someone just a bit more Christ-like.

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