Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Don't Pray For Me

"Life is messy and people are messier." -Pastor George Ray

A few years ago I was driving a U-Haul with my one of my greatest, most special friends from Key West, FL back to the Motherland AKA Boston, MA.  As I was winding the box truck around bendy turns on a sub-highway in Pennsylvania I was overhearing her talk to her distraught daughter who was away at college and trying to get to the bottom of a mysterious rash without the aid of her present mother.  I was focused on the traffic and the scenery, my mind wandering in and out of day dreams when I heard her say, "At least you have your Christian friends to be there with you and help you with this."

She continued talk and my mind instantly processed that information into practical terms that I could describe to someone else.  What does it mean to be a "Christian friend?"  What is the difference?  Should there be one? What would it look like if the last question were true?  Thoughts started to spin.  I reflected on my friendship with my co-pilot on my current pilgrimage home.  I mentally filed evidence of a good Christian friendship versus a regular one or worse, a bad Christian friendship.  Oh, but maybe you don't want to know lest you be convicted but here it is anyway. 

The primary difference is active involvement.  For the women that I serve and mentor on a daily basis, it takes more than a just a phone call. It takes more than a canned response to things. It takes more than just, "I'll pray for you."  It is easy to say, isn't it?  When I say that I will pray for someone I mostly do but occasionally I forget and when I remember I burn with shame for letting it slip. I want to honor the request, of course.  Prayer is powerful, I don't wish to underestimate it at all. Still, how many times have we offered prayer when something tangible was needed?  Have we ever had the power to help with a need in some way and instead offered to pray for someone else to come through?  No, in order for a friendship to resemble that of Christ there needs to be skin in the game.  How involved did Jesus get with his friends and associates. Pretty personal if you ask me! 

Remember the woman caught in adultery.  Did He stand idly by the scene of a mob with rocks ready to hurl at this ashamed woman who'd been cast to the ground before them and say, "Hey, I'll pray for you?"  He got involved.  He stood at her side and defended her, because He should, because He could. He stood next to her even in the face of danger. That is love. 

It takes more than a warm sentiment to make a change to, to take a stand.  The work I do with women who are facing their unintended pregnancies and chosing adoption for their children is hard. It takes time, resources, tears, phone calls, late nights, sleepless nights, lots of prayer and a willingness to be there no matter what.  For a lot of them, I have been the only one in the whole world that they have ever been able to trust.  I want to honor that at all costs. 

Interested in this kind of work? Want to support what we do?  I do apppreciate your prayers. But if you are making a decision to just pray and withhold resources you know could help us, please don't pray for me.  Get involved. For where your heart is there your treasure will be also.