Only $7.43? A Prayer for Lent

by: Larry Davies | Feb 20, 2015

Earlier, I wrote about a missed opportunity to help a mother buy $7.43 worth of baby food. I blew it but learned valuable lesson. However, helping someone in poverty isn’t easy. There are many strategies to consider: Financial, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual, Physical Health, Support Systems, Relationships/Role Models, Knowledge of Hidden Rules and Coping Skills.

One strategy is Spiritual. Why spiritual? Robin Van Cleef wrote the following prayer:

Lord, I sense my need of you; yet — I am not quite sure how to reach you.

I heard someone say, ‘Read your Bible.’
But too often the words are like bullets that ricochet off my brain.

I heard someone say, ‘Pray.’
But my prayers, hurled heaven ward, fall back to earth like lifeless stones.

I heard someone say, ‘Meditate.’
But my wandering mind was lost in a desert of random thoughts.

Do you sometimes rush to look at the computer or newspaper but struggle to read God’s Word? Do you pray and wonder if anyone is listening? Is it difficult to focus your thoughts? Meditation can seem painfully slow in the midst of our frantic lifestyle. Spiritual growth seldom happens naturally. But now is an opportune time to think about spiritual growth because we are in the season of Lent.

Lent is about preparation: A time to remember the life and death of Jesus before appreciating the resurrection. Lent is an opportunity to renew and deepen our relationship with God through Bible study, prayer and meditation. God wants to touch you, embrace you and love you. But you must do your part.

But what does that have to do with helping the poor? Everything!

“Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?” (James 2:5-7)

If God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom, then how can we not be more involved in helping our brothers and sisters in need? By not becoming involved we risk slandering the name of Jesus Christ, whose noble name we bear.

In his Lenten message, Pope Francis writes: “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.” Describing this phenomenon he calls the globalization of indifference… that “whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades.” He continues that, “We end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.” – Chris Hale, “Time”

Van Cleef in the prayer above, admits to struggling with Bible study, prayer and meditation but continues:

Lord, speak to me through your Word. Let it penetrate my mind and my heart.
Lord, speak to me through Prayer, and turn the lifeless stones to bread.
Lord, speak to me in my Meditation that I may see, amid life’s wilderness:
The way, the truth and the life.

Is God pointing toward those trapped in poverty to show “the way, the truth and the life?” Are we listening?

• I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy in your land.” –Deut. 15:11
• Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. – Prov. 31:8
• For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room. – Mat. 25:35

God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith and inherit the kingdom. We are commanded by God to open our hand to the poor and needy. We are to speak out for the destitute who cannot speak. When we give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty and rooms for the homeless, it is as if we are giving to Christ.

Earlier, I asked: What about the Spiritual factor? How can we help people without involving God? During this time of Lent we need to study God’s Word, pray and meditate with renewed focus.

Lord, speak to me through your Word. Let it penetrate my mind and my heart.
“Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith?” James 2:5

Lord, speak to me through Prayer, and turn the lifeless stones to bread.
“Open your hand to the poor and needy in your land.” –Deut. 15:11

Lord, speak to me in my Meditation that I may see, amid life’s wilderness:
“Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.” – Prov. 31:8

The way, the truth and the life.
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was homeless and you gave me a room.” – Mat. 25:35

Amen.

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