Last week, we connected to God through prayer for physical healing. This week we open our eyes to the needs of those around us.
Praying for the Needy
Do you ever walk past the man or woman sitting on the sidewalk hunched over begging for money and feel a conflict in your heart about what to do? Do you give some change and feel like you have done your ‘duty’? Do you not give money because they might spend it on drugs or alcohol? Do you give to the church or a charity and feel that you are ‘covered’ because there are organizations already caring for these people? Just by the nature of the fact that you are reading this blog online means that you are probably reasonably well off. The others are called the ‘marginalized’.
God is greatly concerned about the poor and the oppressed. God’s call is to justice, righteousness and compassion. As followers of Jesus, do we have compassionate hearts? Do we care about the poor? Do we seek justice for the marginalized? Do we pray for them and does our prayer lead to any action? It’s a cop out if we have time to sit in church every Sunday talking about ‘religion’ when we don’t find time to do anything about it. Consider the words of God in the Book of Amos:
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 21-24)
I constantly need to remind myself of the words in James 1:27 “Religion that our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Religion doesn’t have anything to do with sitting in church week after week even though I sometimes convince myself that it does. There are lots of days that I don’t take the time to spend with even those around me that I know could use a helping hand. After I take a few moments to pray for them, I need to take a few moments to pray for myself to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.