By Randy Evans / Walking Tall Wilmington
In a world of uncertainty and chaos, why would someone experiencing poverty even care about praying? The concept of prayer could easily internalize into a way of bargaining with God and negotiating for a better outcome. Intercessory prayer could turn into a one-sided conversation, with the person begging or pleading for the crumbs of a glorious feast everyone else seems to enjoy.
These are all realities for our community. Prayer can also be used as a weapon against them as a way to acquire food, warmth, or even basic healthcare from some churches; many times the marginalized are forced to participate in spiritual rituals to receive the basic necessities of life.
So how do I teach our community to pray? I focus on the idea of contemplative prayer which emphasizes being with God instead of using God as a means to an end. Our community has found God by sitting next to the Cape Fear River enjoying the sunset, sharing a meal with each other, or simply taking a deep breath of fresh air. I tell everyone that prayer is more than just saying some words. Prayer is a way to experience the grace, peace, and newness of Jesus Christ by having an encounter with Him. While in the midst of chaos, how can you experience prayer through being present with God?