Yesterday the message was given by a guest pastor who nailed it (Oh our pastor did too, but this guy drove something home for me).
I am going to admit something I am not proud of and find myself a bit ashamed of as the reality set in.
Remember the homeless people my friend and I served on our BURGERVILLE MISSION? I pray for each of those people who touched my life that day. I pray for JP, Owen, Nick, the Vet, the homeless under the red blanket and the couple outside of Denny's. I am not going to sugar coat this. I pray for them to be protected and their needs to be met. With Nick, I pray his life is changed. That someone will come to him and open a door of opportunity for something positive and encouraging. The others, here is where I fall so short in my faith .... I pray for protection. I was not praying for their lives to change but for them to be comforted in the life they chose to live. In the life of homelessness, I prayed for warmth, dry, food, comfortable place to lie their head. Friendly faces to greet them. But I didn't pray for opportunity or HOPE. I limited my prayers and in that I limited our God. I was praying with the heart of someone, much like them ... accepted the situation for what it was and wanted to make that situation best (in the situation) for them. I didn't pray that JP might come to find he is able to help in a Goodwill for instance, that he might be able to find function in a society which has cast him away because he has chosen to be homeless. BUT, did he choose that? I don't know his story, I only know I saw a man who appeared to be content in walking the streets of Portland with his bags and who smiled and was grateful for a few cheese burgers. I limited my prayers for him and I limited HOPE for him. It was't an easy pill to swallow.
Today as I pray over each of them, I do so with a heart that sees MORE for each of them. I don't know who was under that red blanket but it very well could have been someone with amazing influence and encouragement over another, someone who might lift the blanket and seek solutions to the reasons they were there. Someone who God might used to help others who find themselves under a blanket on a cold wet sidewalk. HOPE. I am now praying with HOPE for them. I am not going to limit our God because I've limited my way of thinking, God is so amazingly wonderfully good and so incredibly capable of far more than I could begin to imagine or comprehend. This morning as I pray over those wonderfully gifted people, I pray the Lord place HOPE in them, over them and around them. I pray HIS WILL BE DONE and my small minded limited prayers expand to such HOPE over them, their lives will be touched and changed and circumstances will be far removed from what they are familiar with. I pray God hear my prayer, sees their hearts and He places HOPE in them, on them and around them, not just on this morning, but each morning. I pray God bless them in such a way they bring HOPE to others.
"through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:2-6