Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reflections: Pray Anyway

One of the most unexpectedly powerful moments from our trip to Arizona happened on the last day. We were working with Apache Youth Ministries and going out to spots on the reservation for prayer. Our first location was a local liquor store that was stuck off a side road. The place looked pitiful as we pulled up. It was a tacky, old building sitting in the middle of beautiful scenery. We got out of our van and talked about the power of alcoholism on the reservation. Just as we were about to pray a man started walking over to our group and motioned for me to come closer. When I approached him I could immediately tell that he hadn't been sober in a long time. His state of inebriation was deeply embedded in him and yet he was asking for prayer. I listened to him for several minutes as the rest of our group gathered around us. We all ended up laying hands on him, praying for him and his companion, and inviting them to the local church. He thanked us all with hugs and handshakes and then proceeded into the liquor store to make his purchase.

I wasn't surprised that he continued to his intended destination. I don't doubt the power of prayer, but I do understand the strong grip of habits and addiction. Our group could have ignored him or brushed off his request, but our responsibility is to be faithful when the opportunity arises. We can't guarantee success or even the authenticity of his desire. We simply choose whether we will do what is right.

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