I am a fan of church marquees.

They take the concept of saying something in 30 words or less to a whole new level.

Don’t get used to it. I don’t have the same capability in this space.

Every now and again, there’s a message that just grabs you and takes root.

Such was the case when I drove past Salem United Methodist Church recently.

Just giving credit here — no promises that I’ll be turning over this space to every marquee in town.

With the proverbial church on every corner, there’s no way I could keep up with anything like that.

This is the one that caught my eye and caused me to jot it down: “The things that we take for granted, others are praying for.”

Ponder that a moment.

Better still, take the sentiment and run with it. Hopefully it’ll strike a cord.

In the vein of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” this says it in a much more poetic way.

Maybe you’ve prayed and prayed for a spouse to share your life with, thinking it would make your very existence complete.

Flip that coin over. I guarantee you there is someone out there who is miserable, contemplating why in the world they were in such a rush to walk down the aisle now that they’re “stuck” with a partner who is (fill in the blank here) mean or selfish or unattentive.

The same happens with anything we wish or hope or pray for in this life.

We think we know what it will be like to have such things or circumstances.

Truth is, though, there is some fine print attached.

Be careful what you wish for. Or pray for, as the case may be.

Sometimes there is no easy return policy.

For marriage. For becoming parents. Or a homeowner. Or anything worth having.

It’s much like the lottery.

Most believe if they just had more money, or had the golden ticket, or inherited a bunch of money, life would be better.

And I’m sure it would, for surely having extra cash can pay off some debts and alleviate some bills and possibly allow us to plan a future or live more comfortably.

There is always more to the story, though, because since most of us haven’t ever been used to having an extra $10,000 or million bucks lying around, being ill-equipped to handle what comes with this embarrassment of riches has its own set of issues.

All I’m saying is, it’s really easy to be on the side of praying for things, wishing or hoping for them to come to fruition in the limited understanding of whatever concept we have of what it will be like to have whatever it is we think we need or want.

Before going there, though, stop right where you are.

Look around at your life. Make a list, mental or with pen in hand, of all the things you have going for you.

Health. The ability or see or hear or speak. Can you still get out of bed each morning? Are you able to walk?

Do you have a relationship with your family? Do you cultivate friendships?

Beyond that, do you value others rather than taking advantage of them? And do you recognize how many love and appreciate you?

Do you have enough “stuff” or at the very least, possess things you need to live comfortably?

Because I think it might be important to interject here that before we embark on our own personal “wish list,” it would be worthwhile to consider how many things we already have that others would be more than happy to have.

You just might be surprised to discover you already have a lot of answered prayers.

Or answers to prayers others would be more than happy to receive.