I guess it’s not really odd to pray for people at church, but last Sunday I had an experience that was a little out of the norm. In the rear of the church about an hour before service, I was setting up the multimedia computer when a long-haired gentleman came in the door. He walked straight over to me and asked me some questions about where he could find internet access. The question was a little odd, but having a church located in the coastal community draws a variety of characters through the door.
It didn’t take me long to realize that this gentleman was homeless. He began to pour out his story to me like I was the first person he had spoken to in months. “I need to find my sister on the internet” he explained to me. “I think I am dying and I need to let her know.” And at that moment the tears started flowing from his eyes.
A homeless Vietnam Veteran, this man has spent months sleeping outdoors, and recently found himself in the VA Hospital where they told him his liver and kidneys were starting to fail. He had run into someone from my church on the beach a couple of weeks ago ministering to some other homeless people, and he decided to come visit our Church. I had no idea we even had a homeless outreach ministry, so I knew that this was God’s work.
I didn’t know what to do. It’s a little odd getting struck by a homeless man crying in front of you first thing on a Sunday morning, but the fact of the matter is, God had brought him through our doors. In God’s house, everyone is welcome. All I could think of was to pray for him, so that’s what I did. I laid hands on this homeless man, and prayed fervently for his peace, healing, and comfort.
This man stayed for the service Sunday and worshiped with sincerity that make me take notice. Several times he started tearing up, and I even saw girl walk over to him and just give him a hug. It was at that moment that I realized that my church is truly a family of believers that are doing their part to embrace the world and not condemn it. Who knows what our seemingly insignificant small steps of faith are adding up to?
I can’t stop thinking about this man. I can’t stop thinking about how my first reaction was to wash my hands when I realized he was homeless, and the next minute I had a hand on each of his shoulders praying for him. I thought about Jesus and the Lepers, poor, and crippled. I also in a small way realized why Jesus spent so much time with the broken hearted. They were the most receptive to His help. I will continue to pray for this gentleman, and definitely want to thank God for showing me more about His heart when it comes to helping people in need, even if all I can do is pray.
2 Corinthians 8:8
For YOU know the undeserved kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich he became poor for YOUR sakes, that YOU might become rich through his poverty.