Bruce had come to regard church-going as a waste of time, something he had in general commonality with his watcher across the street. His mother and brother, on the other hand, took strength from church, and their life energy was restored by the predictable traditions and doctrinal banality of the RBCR and Reverend Sheely.
Ezekiel Sheely was not your normal minister. His grasp of doctrine tended to suit his personal mood, but what made Sheely more unusual, was his sense of pastorship. Sheely considered himself very much the shepherd of his flock, and he took quite seriously his duty to meet their needs and concerns. And nowhere was this character more in evidence, than when Pastor Sheely convened the prayer circle after the mid-day meal on Sunday. Sheely passed around a list of the community members who had prayer needs, names a brief request for reference. There was a brief silence as everyone prepared their spirit for the prayer, and speaking for the group, Pastor Sheely opened the channel and prayed out loud to God:
”Holy Father, we come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord in praise, in reverence, and in supplication, for these our brothers and sisters …”
Across the street, the watcher sensed the essence of the prayer going up, for it was strong. The watcher considered the prayer critically, and approved – it was a good prayer, strong and selfless. A nice mix of humility and love, adoration and confidence in the God to whom they prayed. The unity of spirit added to its strength and clarity, thought the watcher, this one was really quite unusual, not even a hint of a single selfish request in it from any of the supplicants; you didn’t see that very often, especially in these large American cities. Yes, the watcher was sure, this one would get a clear answer, and soon.
He was right; almost immediately the place began to change, the air becoming fresher and the mood subtly altered becoming, well, cleaner - the watcher was amused to notice that even those people driving cars through the area were suddenly more careful drivers and more courteous. The watcher waited with eager anticipation for the next part.
And it came directly, a strong atmosphere of love and joy and belonging, the very family of God affirming the authenticity of the believers’ identity as children of the Most High God. The watcher sensed this with a wistful awe; so long, it had been so very long since he had been privileged to experience the pleasure of God, even in this extended way, to sense the approval of the Lord and to know that you were wanted. It was something truly wonderful, and only the Lord’s children knew it regularly. Them and – the watcher suddenly froze, then ran from the church with all his speed. What a fool he was! Prayers were always heard by God, and always answered, but not only were such prayers as this answered quickly and boldly, the Lord tended to send ministering angels to carry out His Will. And that meant the possibility of other Guardians, as well, who would search out those like the watcher, and they would surely find him for hanging about the church, and might well consider him a threat. His only hope was that they would not see him, a desperate hope with no real chance.
The watcher was right. Even as he turned to flee there came from the clouds two Guardians, fierce and vigilant, who noted the watcher and set after him. The watcher was pursued from the church by two Hounds of Heaven.