As we prayed around the circle, my eyes were drawn to the heavily pierced teen who sat on the edge of our group, knees drawn to her chest. Her turn came, and wanting her to feel comfortable, I said, “you don’t have to pray out loud if you don’t want to.”
“I’ve never done this before, but no, I’m gonna do it!” She exclaimed. And then proceeded to share one of the most heartfelt, vulnerable, and impassioned prayers I’ve heard in a long time. A holy silence followed, as none of us felt like we could speak into the sacred space she created.
As couple years ago, we at GOHOP wanted to find some kind of Missional/service expression as part of our rhythms of breathing in (prayer), and breathing out (being part of the answers to our prayers). Because there are already many fine organizations in the city engaged in mission, it made more sense for us to partner with one of them, rather than start something on our own. So we approached the Living Rock, an organization that provides services to at risk youth in our city, and asked them, ‘how can we serve you?’
‘Prayer!’ Was their answer. We were expecting to wash dishes or stack chairs, but quickly realized that our unique contribution (prayer) was the best way we could serve alongside the Rock in mission.
Consequently, for several years now, a team from GOHOP shows up Wednesday at the Rock at 11:30. We do pre-service prayer for their weekly worship Gathering. We participate in the Gathering, sometimes leading worship or teaching. And them after the Gathering is over, we hang out with the youth and staff, and see if any of them need prayer. Then, from 2-3, we retire into their prayer room and spend an hour in worship and intercession for the Rock and youth in the city, often with Rock youth or alumni (they age out of the programs at 26) participating.
And of course, in the summer, we park the Prayer Truck behind the Rock and spend several weeks praying for and with the kids outside.
It’s my conviction that longevity in front line service to the marginalized needs to be fuelled by a rich prayer life. This last weekend the Rock celebrated 28 years of service in the city, and we are grateful for the privilege of (prayer)walking together some of those years with them.