Re-Learning to Pray

lords-prayer

Do you ever find it hard to pray?

Sometimes I do.

On Outreach a couple of nights ago, we met a man who showed a lot of the signs of someone who hustles on the street. As my Outreach partner and I struck up a conversation, he opened up about his mom’s ongoing fight with a coma, a fight she may not win. Before we could get the chance to pray with him, he walked off into the night towards a passing car. Until we see him again, how can we lift him up? Sometimes the words are hard to come by.

In recent years, the Lord has been re-teaching me how to pray, especially using the prayer that Jesus taught us. Last year, in the middle of a difficult internship in northern India with a community development organization, the Lord began to teach me the power of the Lord’s Prayer in places where hope is hard to find. I think that this year he’s teaching me the same thing in a very different time and place. With guys like the man I met in mind, the prayer Jesus taught us is as relevant as ever.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. It’s hard to see the kingdom anywhere out on the streets many nights, with young men continuing to learn the ropes from experienced hustlers as the years go on. But I realize that each conversation we have is a whisper of the kingdom and a whiff of the aroma of Christ. We may not see the effects, but the Lord uses each interaction beyond what we can see or know.

Give us this day our daily bread. For men in survival prostitution, even getting food to eat is a continual struggle and can come at a terrible cost. We pray the Lord’s nourishment, body and soul, for men who are starving for both. We provide what we can through our Ministry Center, but only the Lord can truly care for the men we meet.

Our Father… For men from broken homes, only the love of a Father can heal broken hearts. He is a better Father than any of us can ever be, and his love is complete, unending, and free. He waits with open arms for each of the men and each of us, inviting us together into fullness. When it doesn’t all make sense and when it’s hard to see how he’s working, his healing love for his children is always constant, always faithful.

This is the love we need at each step along this journey, as the Good Teacher walks the Emmaus road with all of us.

1 Comment
  1. Very nice, Joel! A thoughtful deconstruction of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. The “right” words often evade me, too, when praying for the guys. Going back to the basics is a great idea!

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