Day 10: Monday 23rd March 2020 Prayer for ministry to the poor
Last Saturday, whilst doing Healing on the Streets, I sat down and spent around an hour talking to one of the rough sleeper guys sat outside HSBS bank.
He was a young guy, really personable and I just asked him what his story was and how he’d ended up in the situation. He was really candid, open and honest about himself including his drug habit etc. He was really lovely and let me pray for him however his story went something like this:
From an early age his mum, due to various reasons, had not been able to look after Him and his younger brother and sister had ended up in a neglected situation. His dad had then taken the children and done his best however, his father passed away when he was in his teens, leaving him to be the carer for his brothers and sisters. They had all gone into the care system, but due to grieving, bereavement and other issues struggled to adapt. In fact he was still struggling with grief when I talked to him.
He’d eventually got put into the hostel system where over the years had been beaten up, stolen from and in the process to numb everything started taking various drugs. He told me he preferred to stay on the street rather than go into some of the hostels or rental establishments that were available to him.
Now I agree with personal responsibility and bad life decisions have consequences, but this guy had started from a much tougher set of personal circumstances, in his childhood, than me or most people I know. If I had been dealt his deck of cards in life, I’m sure I would have played a similar hand in fact probably worse!!
When I have come across rough sleepers recently, I haven’t given them money, but I have tried to start spending a small amount of time (which I uniquely have in my situation) and ask them the same question. How did you end up here? All their stories are pretty similar to the one above.
On my travels I’ve also come across Stephen and Trudy Barnes, who have attended CCB a few times. They have an amazing ministry of going around on a Saturday morning from rough sleeper to rough sleeper, making these guys a brew, giving them a butty, but mainly taking the time to talk, pray for them, show real care for them and demonstrate the love of Jesus.
It’s truly amazing to behold!
Please pray for them in this ministry and if you interested in joining or helping them. I can get in contact and I’m sure they would be appreciative.
Recently a church member commented to me that they didn’t think, as a church, we really had a ministry to the poor!
Although I believe we do an amazing job of welcoming and caring for the poor, needy, messy and the stranger into our church. I would tend to agree with their assessment. I am praying for dreams, vision, prophetic direction and a heart within our church for this area of ministry. Please pray for this today as I believe that this should be in the core DNA of any church.
Finally pray other individual who are struggling and poor. The guys on the street are often visible but a lot of poverty happen behind close doors, for many, many reason not only financial.
Please pray for all the people who work in this area both inside the government and the charity sector.
We are all made in the image of God, all loved by the a father and if you’ve been journeying with us through Luke you will know how much compassion Jesus had!!
Helpful Bible Verses
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
1 John 3:17
Then Jesus said to his host . . . When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Stephen Norcross is an elder, married to Lisa and living in Blackburn. Stephen works full time for Community Church Blackburn. Stephen studied music at university and uses his musical gifts leading worship. He also has a passion for bible teaching.