God Hears All Prayers
For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly... —Zephaniah3:12 (nrsv)
When I started the St. James Literary Society at the homeless shelter, I had plans for structure, rules, you name it. Reality soon set in. Our book club became as messy as the lives of those of us in it.
Everything was on the table!
Once I abandoned my hope for an organized, structured forum, I opened myself up more to these people than to anyone in my life. They honored me by returning the favor.
I insisted that we end every meeting with a prayer. Not everyone identified as Christian, although most were familiar with the higher power of twelve-step programs. It took a little doing to get them to hold hands. I tried to make the prayers personal, including each person’s particular needs. There were men and women standing in the circle, heads bowed, eyes closed, hands clasped. They’d stood up, put out their cigarettes, stopped jittering. They were addicts, dealers, poor in spirit and body, ill, hungry, worried, ex-convicts, angry, hurt, victims of injustice. And because I’d asked them, we were praying.
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