Yesterday it was Ash Wednesday when the Church marks the beginning of Lent.
In the Ash Wednesday liturgy we say, ‘dust you are; to dust you will return.’ The writer of Genesis 3 where this text comes from could not have been more scientifically correct. To be human is to be dust. So on Ash Wednesday we are reminded that we are only human.
For many Christians, ashes are a symbol of being sorry for the things they have done wrong and want to get rid of. It is also a reminder to them that we all come from ashes and to ashes we all return. The marking of the cross on the forehead with ash is a sign of their commitment to Jesus Christ and God. ‘The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart he will not despise’ (Psalm 51:17)
We had a very good team at this HOTS session. We had 12 members. What a good number to have! Also we had quite a few who hadn’t been for a while. After the session, when we met together for de-briefing and prayer they said that they were glad to have come. The Lord blessed them, honoured them and assured them of the ministry He has given them. If you haven’t been to any HOTS session lately I invite you to come next time. The Lord will do the same for you.
Here are some of the prayers we offered on behalf of passers-by:
1. A lady wanted a prayer for her father, due to have an operation for cancer.
2. A lady whose son is in prison told her he needed his mother to be alive when he comes out. He said he couldn’t bear it if she weren’t’. This has caused her to worry and have heart pain. She is concerned and has fears of dying before he comes out. The team prayed for her to have peace and to entrust her life to God. As she left she felt much more encouraged.
3. A lady was prayed for her sight and hearing to be restored. However, she was also conscious that her spiritual sight and hearing needed to be restored. She had been brought up as a Christian and wanted to regain her relationship with Christ and increase her knowledge of him.
4. A Muslim girl spoke of her desire for all of us to unify in faith no matter what we believe. We listened to her and then we asked if we could pray for her. She wasn’t quite sure what we meant by ‘praying for her’ but she said yes. We prayed that she would experience God’s love for her. Her face beamed. Once more we were reminded that our motivation for going out on the streets is the compelling love of Christ. Each person we pray for should be left in no doubt that God loves them.
5. We prayed for a man whose dog died and was grieving for him. The team prayed for comfort and peace. He said he had committed his life to Christ through the team some time ago. This time he team gave him the ‘Word for Today’ magazine. Please pray that he will continue seeking God’s will and direction for his life.
Many more passers-by came for prayer for physical pain caused by arthritis and other illnesses. Others came for prayer because of depression, addiction and low self-esteem.
Whatever is the request from those who come to the chairs when we are ministering out on the streets, we needed to be reminded of our motivation to pray.
I finish with an extract from our Training Manual by Mark Marx
‘Remember that God loves the person who you are praying for, and sent this son to die for them also. Always treat the person you are praying for with respect, dignity, gentleness, kindness and love. God wants to show his love through you.’
Image: racineur – Flickr