The Gift of Prayer
The Twelve Days of Christmas is a time we focus on generosity. We shop for Christmas presents for friends and family; and in the spirit of giving, we often think of the less fortunate and donate to charities or help at food kitchens.
We tend to think of giving as something we give to others. Our money. Our time. Our things.
We are the givers and the less fortunate are the receivers. After all, we don’t expect to receive something from those who have nothing.
This is especially true of the homeless.
After all, they don’t have a home, barely have enough food or supplies to survive, and may have addiction or psychological issues to overcome.
But just like us, they yearn to connect with others and want to feel valued. Many of them once had homes and were active members of society.
The book, Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, is a true story of the lifelong friendship that develops between a homeless man (Denver) from Louisiana and an art dealer (Ron) from California due to the efforts of the art dealer’s wife (Debbie).
Debbie convinces her husband to join her in serving the poor at the Union Gospel Mission. Her passion was to treat and care for the homeless with the same respect and love that she gave her own family. Not just once a week, but 2-3 times. It wasn’t easy. Both sides were weary of each other’s motives. Fear and hurt go deep and are not easily removed. But over time, they began to trust each other and a friendship ensued.
At first, Denver wouldn’t speak to either of them. He was known on the streets as an angry, tough guy and had a reputation to uphold. But over months of watching them, he eventually opened his heart to their friendship.
Years later, as Debbie was dying of cancer, Denver was the one consoling Ron and helping him with his faith. Denver was able to understand Ron’s anger, and helped him see God’s perspective. Denver was a prayer warrior who spent night after night holding vigil over Debbie’s illness.
Here’s one of my favorite passages:
“You know, if you ain’t poor, you might think it’s the folks in them big ole fine brick churches that’s doin all the givin and the carin and the prayin. I wish you coulda seen all them little circles a’ homeless folks with their heads bowed and their eyes closed, whisperin what was on their hearts. Seemed like they didn’t have nothing to give, but they was givin what they had, takin the time to knock on God’s front door and ask Him to heal this woman that had loved them. ”
Not everyone is called to minister with the homeless; however, it’s important to remember that God values each of us, and will use people from all kinds of backgrounds for His glory. The homeless have keys to the kingdom the same as anyone else.
When Jesus came to earth, His messages and miracles were for everyone. He redefined what a ‘king’ should look and act like. He spent time with fishermen, tax collectors, priests, prostitutes, lepers, widows, and children. All were welcome into the kingdom of God. And in joining humanity, He prayed for them.
Jesus loved His Father and communicated with Him often. He prayed for wisdom and guidance in His earthly ministry. He prayed for others to come to know Him as Savior and Lord. He prayed for the twelve disciples, and that God would strengthen their ministry once He departed from them. He prayed with honesty, reverence, joy and praise. But most of all, Jesus prayed with expectation. He knew the Father heard His prayers and would respond.
If you feel like you have nothing to give this season, or you have already given much of your time and money, I ask you to give the gift of prayer.
It doesn’t take much time and doesn’t cost a thing.
God will give you the resources to help others if you ask.
Encourage your children to have their own prayer time. Praying for family, friends, and even strangers is a good place to start. Children can also use this time to talk to God about whatever is on their mind.
Praying is something every single person on this earth can do, and it’s important to God. The word ‘pray’ is mentioned 313 times in the Bible. It is active communication with God. We talk, listen, or just walk with Him in prayer.
And best of all, prayers are free.