Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Patterns of Prayer - Week 3

This week our focus of prayer takes one more "ripple" out. We will pray for people that still live around us, though perhaps not as immediate as our friends, family and neighbors. This group of people may be easier to pray for, but it may be more difficult to break our patterns of behavior toward them.

I was challenged this week by a quote from a book:

“I know what it’s like to move around in the world, but not really be a part of it. And I know what it’s like to have people stare right through you, and not believe what they are seeing.”.. (Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult)

It made me think of my patterns of behavior toward those who are "invisible" to me in this world - the poor, the immigrant, the elderly, even my enemy. They are invisible because my pattern is to look away or direct my eyes to see something else. I think about the guy who stands on the corner of the Costco parking lot holding a sign that explains his condition to me. I am much more comfortable not making eye contact with him, or looking right through him and getting on with my life.

Even when I give toward this group, they can still be invisible. I think many remain invisible to us because we tend to give to organizations that work with "them", but it allows us to still never really see them. Or perhaps we see them as a group, or clump them together, instead of seeing individual people.

Praying Lent:
Perhaps this is just my hang up, but I'd like to challenge all of us to look at our patterns of thinking, seeing and relating to people in this "invisible" category. (Maybe our first prayer should be for God to show us who is in this category for us!) And then, could we ask God how He sees those invisibles? What are His patterns of extending the Kingdom to these ones? How do our patterns not align with His and, through confession, we ask that we would begin to see more of what He sees and do more of what He does.

Living Lent:
This is a tough one, because our "invisible" people will all be different. I think we need to somehow SEE people in this category and interact with them. So maybe this means stopping and talking to them - really seeing them. Maybe it means offering a meal to them and joining them. What does it mean for you? What is God telling you to do this week, to live out His heart for invisibles?

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