Did you pray when you got up this morning?
If so, was it a quick prayer asking the Lord to be involved in your day, or was it a little more profound? For many of us it’s often something really quick.
When we’ve uttered those few words (and perhaps fulfilled our “obligation),” we then move onto the day’s practical realities.
So with that in mind, when our life recovery program instructor at Joy Junction told me he had asked some of our program participants to list their most frequent prayers, I was intrigued. What would they be? “Lord, make me rich,” or “Give me a job so I can get an apartment and get out of this place?”
Our nine month life recovery program, based on the Tyndale House Life Recovery Bible, is a core part of what we do at Joy Junction. It is under the supervision of a case manager and a chaplain and includes classes, Bible studies and volunteer work assignments.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was shocked (and pleasantly surprised) at what I found. Their prayers were so much more profound than I had imagined. Here are some examples.
I saw that some prayed for peace with others, forgiveness and reunification with their family.
Just think about that for a minute. So many of our guests come to us having experienced serious substance abuse issues. Whether they’ve struggled with drugs or alcohol, it’s still been an uphill battle. During the fight, many former relationships have been burned and bridges burned with both friends and family. In a number of cases, families have had to cut off contact with the substance abusing relative in order to ensure emotional survival.
Now having enrolled in our program and experienced a few months of sobriety, they’re in a place to assess where they’re at in their life and where they want to go. Recovery is on the horizon.
Others participants said they give thanks for waking up, and thank God for the upcoming day. These prayers reminded me of my friend Christian singer Randy Stonehill’s classic song about the uncertainty of life titled, “Celebrate this Heartbeat.” The words encourage you to enjoy each minute of your life, because you can never be sure when it’s going to be over.
If homeless people living in our Joy Junction community can be that appreciative, what does that mean for us? Shouldn’t we be at least half as grateful? After all, most of you reading this probably have a job and a house – something our guests at Joy Junction are still working toward.
Others prayed that God would be in the middle of what was happening to them, and to take away pride.
These prayers especially blessed me. Staying at a shelter for the homeless and relying on the kindness of others for their meals and a place to stay (which we tend to take for granted), these individuals were asking that God would be in the midst of their situation and … take away pride.
Hmmh … how much pride would you be asking God to remove if you knew that your supper and bed tomorrow night would be at Joy Junction? How prideful would you feel if you knew that you were at least temporarily unable to support your wife and children? There’s some profound insight going into these prayers.
Others program participants asked for patience, guidance and success. More good prayers. When you’re homeless you certainly need God given patience and guidance. You need it to properly react when you’re living in close proximity to a number of often difficult people with whom you may never associate unless you were homeless.
Then, for example, you need patience to navigate the time consuming public transportation system, as well as a host of other issues.
One woman prayed that her spouse would stay clean. Over 30-plus years of helping New Mexico’s homeless, I’ve encountered many women and their children who are homeless because of their husband’s addiction. Despite a trail of broken promises and family devastation, most of these individuals usually stay with their husbands. They hope that someday they’ll change and they’ll be able to experience at least a slice of the American dream and a bit of family togetherness.
Another person prayed for an increased relationship with Christ, which as a faith based ministry, is what Joy Junction is all about. The addiction struggles faced by many of our guests have often started off by using excessive alcohol and illegal drugs in an attempt to numb the painful struggles that have characterized their lives.
While we advocate cooperation with all medical professionals, we are convinced that the cornerstone of a recovered life is a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Will you help us continue sharing the hope of new life in Jesus with our ever increasing number of guests? As they count on us for encouragement and physical necessities while they walk the road to recovery, we’re counting on your continued prayerful and financial support.