Praying for your Neighbors
(* this is a submission of mine to the Paseo Prayer Blog we’re running this month.)
My garage is a mess. Yours too probably. Oh, I know there are those of you who have the perfect garage; a place for everything and everything has it’s place. Mine, mine is a mess, but I keep going out there. I love to be in the garage; fixing things, building things, opening the garage door, that noise it makes and the light that comes blasting in. I love it.
Last week, I spent a lot of time out there with the big doors open. Saw dust, paint, drills, saws, brushes. Saturday morning my little girl and I were out working on the cornhole boards for our 4th of July party. It had been an interesting morning, because it was filled with police cars, policemen, sirens, running, screaming, handcuffs, crying, relief, tension, “FREEZE”.
You see, one set of our neighbors were divorced about six months ago and the wife moved out. From that point on the situation at the house went south fast. It has been a disaster, a real disaster.
So, we were in my garage working on the cornhole boards and we were talking. She didn’t know how to feel about the whole situation. I’m not sure that I did either. On the one hand I was relieved. The situation was bad and a lot of bad people were in our neighborhood as a result of our neighbor’s choices. We’re not just talking the smoking dope, having the party in the backyard bad. Oh that was happening too, but it was much worse than that.
We were relieved, but on the other hand it was and is tragic too. I know that this guy, we’ll call him Joe, didn’t grow up thinking he wanted to be hauled off for the 4th time in a month; this time probably for a long time. It wasn’t his life-dream to be in prison. My daughter saw four people hauled off in handcuffs that morning, it was something that she hadn’t seen before, so it had an impact on her and she was trying to get her head and heart around it all.
So we painted and we talked about how we are relieved that we don’t have to worry as much about playing in the front yard and we’re sad at the same time that our neighbor is having a real hard time right now… that we wish he didn’t have to.
Story is a popular word in the Christian circles these days. Books, seminars, conventions are all talking about story, your story, how you fit into the world’s story and God’s big story. It’s popular to talk about. The sad truth is… there are a lot of stories, more than we would like to admit, that are tragic. Some of those tragic stories are being lived out right around you… oh the lawns may be nicely manicured. The cars may look nice and polished up and the clothes nicely pressed, but just under the surface there are messy lives being lived out.
This month we’re praying… we have this prayer blog to help you. Today we want to encourage you to pray for your neighbors. Maybe you know their junk, maybe you don’t, but you do know what it is to struggle, to have fear, to wonder where you’re gonna find the money to pay a bill, why can’t you communicate with your spouse, or why your spouse doesn’t understand you. You know what it feels like to dream, but wonder if you would ever have the guts to leave your job or make that jump. You know that it’s really hard to raise kids sometimes and if you don’t have kids, you know what it was / is like to be one and the grief that you caused your parents or that your parents caused you.
Will you take some time and pray for your neighbors and for your neighborhood?
As you pray, listen and watch for God’s leading. You may be drawn to pray for one particular neighbor. Don’t ignore God’s leading. Make it a point to engage that neighbor in a specific, tangible way. Be proactive and meet them at the mailbox. Learn their name(s). Take them some cookies or vegetables from your garden. Maybe you can even host a neighborhood party (we can help you do that) and bring a little bit of light into your neighbors lives.
Whatever you do, pray, especially when you don’t know what else to do. Pray that God would draw them closer to him and the life he has for them.