By Bob Haynes

Lord, Prop Us Up On Our Leanin’ Side


When I’m in the States, one of my hobbies is traveling the back roads in order to take pictures of old weathered barns. Many times I’m drawn to them because their weathered condition has caused them to “tilt” or “lean” to one side or another. Some I take their pictures because I don’t know how much longer they will last given the angle of the lean.

My last trip to the States allowed me the opportunity to see a lot of “old barns” as I traveled some of the back roads in Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.  Most of the time my pictures don’t really do them justice, but I keep trying. To me there’s something mystical about those old barns. I really wish they could talk to me. I’ll bet they all have some tales to tell.

I’m reminded of the story about an old Deacon who, when called upon to pray, would fervently begin, “Lord, prop us up on our leanin’ side.” After hearing the prayer many times, someone asked about why he began his prayers that way. He replied that he had an old barn out back. “It’s been there for a long, long time,” he said. “It’s withstood a lot of weather, gone through a lot of storms, and has stood for many years.”

He continued, “It’s still standing but one day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit. So I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leanin’ side so it wouldn’t fall. Then I got to thinking ‘bout that and how much I was like that old barn. I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms, withstood a lot of bad weather, withstood a lot of hard times and I’m still standing. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leanin’ side…’cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning, at times.”

He spoke about the ways in which we all have a tendency to lean from time to time. The old Deacon’s explanation hit me between the eyes. Don’t know about you but I know I’ve had a number of times of “leanin.”

In my case, I’ve been known to lean to bitterness, to lean a bit toward anger, and to lean toward a lot of things I shouldn’t have in my life. Perhaps some of you have been in that category from time to time. We’re still functioning, but we’ve lost the ability to stand straight and tall against life’s troubles, tribulations and temptations.

Like “old barns,” we’re still there but we need something to help straighten out our “leanin” and allow us to stand tall. Pine poles can help stop the leaning of old barns, but only God can prop us back to our original ‘straight and narrow selves.’

So, I’m asking you to join me as I join with that old Deacon and begin our prayers saying:  “Lord, prop us up on our leaning side so we can stand straight and tall again.” Shalom!

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