As we continue our 40 Days of Prayer Series throughout Lent, I am reminded of the Scripture from which this column is named. In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus answers the question, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” As he often did, Jesus answered the question with a question. Ultimately, he helps his listeners to think about who we consider to be our neighbors. While Lent is a time for self-examination, we can’t look at ourselves without examining how we are responding to the needs around us.
The first week in our study/prayer journal was ‘The Purpose of Prayer.’ Isn’t that obvious? The purpose of prayer is to get what we want from God, right? OK…..maybe that’s not the purpose. However, do we pray as if that’s the case? How often do we pray that God will give us the opportunities to make a difference in the world….even in the midst of our chaos?
I would like for us to do something that won’t cause us to leave our houses, make any special trips, or cost us a dime. I would like for us to spend time in prayer specifically praying for the following:
1-The homeless in Bloomington/Normal and the agencies that serve them.
2-Those who have to eat ‘cheap’ rather than nutritious food and ministries who attempt to alleviate this problem.
3-Those who live in substandard housing because they can’t afford anything better and they can’t risk upsetting their landlords. Pray for landlords to be faithful and for more affordable housing to be made available.
This is just a beginning, but I think you can see where I’m going. The purpose of prayer isn’t only to ask for our needs to be met…...we also have a responsibility to our neighbors.
May we look for the power of God to be unleashed in our world as the prayers of God’s people abound.
Debbie Reese is the Co-Directing Pastor of Calvary UMC.