It’s My Prayer Truck!

The phone rings.  “Hi Jill, Sara’s here at Living Rock, wanting to know when the prayer truck opens.”

It was 9 am.

I laugh.  “Tell her she’s early!  We’re opening at 8 pm tonight.”

Sara had been joining us for our weekly Wednesday prayer meetings at the Rock.  She didn’t like to pray out loud, but was hungry for community and loved the worship.

7:30 pm, the first night, Sara showed up.  Due to mobility challenges, she wasn’t able to climb into the truck, but that didn’t prevent her from planting herself in one of the folding chairs in front of it.  Day in and day out, Sara sat by the truck.  At 10 pm each night, I sent her back to her group home.  “It’s the rules, Sara.  No women alone out here at night!”  When I realized that she was going to be a permanent fixture, I decided to put her to work.

“You see those people walking by?” I pointed.  “Let’s pray for them.  And those people in scooters?” (Hamilton, in my opinion, is the scooter capital of Canada – though some would argue that Brantford is). “Let’s pray that God heals them so they don’t need their scooters anymore.  And see that parking lot?  Let’s pray that no-one’s car gets broken into.”

She caught on right away.  When I arrived the next day, she exclaimed, “I’m a prayer warrior!  I prayed over all those cars in the parking lot!  I love the prayer truck!  It’s MY prayer truck!”

Sara wasn’t the only one who claimed the truck as her own.  Halfway through the second week, two teen girls, heavily tattooed and pierced, visited us.  They carried a picture of one of their friends who had just died.  “We just knew we had to come to the truck and pray – we’ve got to get some good energy being released.”  We glued the picture of their friend on the wall, and they wrote loving memories and prayers around it.  Over the rest of the week, there was a small but steady stream of youth who came to grieve and pray – youth who would never consider going to a church.  They knew we were here, and they chose the truck as their sanctuary.  It was their prayer truck.

The first week, the Hamilton Spectator did an article on what we were doing.  The lead line was “Hamilton has a cupcake truck, a grilled cheese truck, and now a prayer truck.”  It had a prophetic ring to it.

The truck is shut down now, and I’m grieving.

The issue is sustainability.  We’re tired and there are simply not enough of us at this juncture to man the truck full time.  We were using a borrowed truck, and a borrowed parking spot.  Plus, in our Canadian climate, an outdoor prayer room loses some of its glam when the temperature dips.

Several times over the last two weeks, I exclaimed to friends and passers by. “I’m ruined!  I never want to pray inside again!”

I am.  And I don’t.  A ministry mentor of mine once said to me “put yourself in the path of oncoming grace.”  We did that in the last two weeks of praying on the streets of Hamilton.  But when grace knocks you down and bowls you over, how do you pick yourself up again and resume the journey you were on before?  Or should you?

What does an Urban Monastery that is attractive and accessible to those on the margins look like?  These last couple of weeks, it looked like a Uhaul.  Please pray for us as we reflect on what God has done in our midst, assimilate our new learning, and seek the Lord as to how to move forward.



3 thoughts on “It’s My Prayer Truck!

  1. The prayer truck moved me! Me and my wife went to pray one night at the truck and we feel deeply in love with praying all over again. We didn’t want the praying time to end and we didn’t want the truck to end. It was, so good it inspired us to keep on going deeper in our own home with prayer. I am excited to see what God is going to do though prayer and from this prayer movement. Things are happening in Hamilton because of prayer and God is gonna change this city for the better. Let’s all keep praying, but let’s go deeper. Thanks for the prayer truck!!!

  2. I don’t write as graciously as Jill. I tend to lay it down more plainly. Sorry ’bout that. (Sort of.)

    Two weeks in a prayer truck was a life-changing experience–I hope. I know it is and will be for me. However, having been in 24/7, 24/12 abd 24/3 events for years, I am somewhat skeptical how life changing it will be for others. My experience with such events is that they are like really good thrill rides at a theme park. You get away from your regular life, do something really cool, walking away drunk with the thrill and say “Wow! That was a great ride!”, and then you go home to the same old lifestyle. I wonder how many people gain something from such events and then bury their talents in the ground.–back to business as usual.

    As I write, it occurs to me that the answer to sustainability is grounded in a few main factors.

    SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES CONVICTION. God needs to lay something on your heart, and when He does, YOU NEED TO RESPOND, even if it’s difficult or screws up the rest of your life or stretches you to the limit of your faith.

    SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES COMMITMENT. Are we going to sustain this or not? If you want it, you have to lay some other things down. You have to show up whether you feel like it or not. If you can’t make a shift, it’s YOUR job to get it covered. Pick a slot and do the same slot every time, as frequently (daily) or infrequently (weekly) as you are able, but be consistent.

    SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES A PORCH-STEP MENTALITY. Jill and I have been talking about this, as has our GOHOP staff. There was a security in/near the truck. You could be out on the street interacting with people you would not normally. You could step out and interact and challenge people more boldly. You felt safe because it was your truck Folks on the street felt safe because it was their street. It somehow was like sitting on the front porch of your home. People would walk by on the street and you could call out, “hello!”. They could come up and visit without any sense of threat–just like on your front porch.

    SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES US TO GET OUT OF OUR “HOLY HUDDLES” (not my term, but I like it). To use a football analogy, you can read about football, sit and watch from your couch, play Playstation football from your couch, enjoy going to a real football game, but THIS, the prayer truck, was like actually getting of the couch and going outside and playing football! Even in real football, we can’t stay in the huddle; we have to follow the huddle with action! This week, we experienced the joy of being off of the couch and into the game.

    SUSTAINABILITY REQUIRES PREDICTABILITY.. Over the duration of the event, people began to find us. Rock staff came for prayer before starting their days, and youth would stop for a prayer or a visit while waiting for the Rock’s 7:30 AM breakfasts. One of the youths’ friends, “Star” had died during our 2 weeks at the truck–a suicide by hanging. Friends of this young person fastened “Star’s” photo to the prayer truck wall and wrote some words and prayers around it. Two of the last drop-ins, came during the final two hours the truck was open. A week after their friend Star died, they were grieving horribly. They didn’t go to church, and they didn’t know how to pray….

    (…but they new where to come for it.)

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