When I first moved into the neighborhood I was greeted by one of my neighbors and his smile that could light up a dark room, a young man we’ll call “T” he was a very personable young man, who shared some stories with me, that I later realized weren’t true, but as I’ve gotten to know this young man I’ve realized that they are his dreams, and I believe in his heart he wants them to be real. For example, he wants to go to college and play basketball, he wants to do something other than push… this young man is smart, witty, a charmer and has the potential to do BIG things in his life. There’s just one problem he like many of the other young men and women in this environment have become slaves to the streets, whether it’s pushing drugs, selling their bodies, settling for something less than their potential, or just feeling trapped in what they’ve become accustomed too.
The other night as I was coming home, some of the boys across the street greeted me, I love that I usually have a troop of men waiting to make sure I make it in to my home safe, especially after dark! I told the boys I’d been missing “T” and his smile…that’s when the boys told me that he “was back in the house” I’ve slowly learned that “the house” means jail. I told them how sad that made me and how much time I spend in prayer for them, these boys looked at me like I was crazy and asked me what I prayed for… as I told them I pray for Christ to invade their lives, the looked puzzled and began to ask questions, what does that mean, why do you pray that? It was just more confirmation that these boys are missing so much in their lives, beginning with Christ.
I explained to these boys that the prayers I prayed for them are that would see the love Christ has for them, that the life they are leading is destructive, to them, to people around them, it doesn’t allow them to follow their dreams, and then I asked the boys what some of their dreams are. These teenage boys (who a few months ago taunted me for weeks because I corrected them one night) shared their hearts with me on my front porch, in freezing cold temps, and I found out that they DO dream of going to college, of finding jobs, of having “normal” families, I found out that each of these boys, has lost someone very close them a mom, a dad, a family member that was raising them, and just as I’ve always known these boy are seeking love and attention. This night I shared with the boys that they could experience love and attention from Jesus. I told them I was going to begin praying that God would send some Godly men into their lives, and then I asked them if I could please pray with them and for them before they left and you know these boys not only said YES, but they shared with me some of their prayers and one of them even asked me how to pray (and later shared he’s only been to church for funerals).
As the boys shared their prayer requests for protection, for their families and each other and for their friend “T” to come home soon, tears began to well in my eyes, as I prayed for them my heart broke for each of these boys, but I found comfort in the fact that they felt comfortable enough to open their hearts to me even if just for 20 minutes on a cold night… I prayed for Christ to invade each of them, I prayed for their families, their futures, and our dear friend “T”, I prayed that God would send some Godly men into their lives that would change them, that would allow them to see and experience Christ’s love. When I finished praying for them each of these boys gave me a hug and thanked me for the prayers. Every day since then there has been a different attitude towards me from these boys, they go out of their way to ask how I’m doing, they’ve asked a few times if I am still praying for them, and gone out of their way to walk on my side of the street to talk to me when we’re outside together.
I’m asking you today to join me in prayer for these boys, for their homes, for their lives, for Christ to invade them, for my life to be an example for them, and for God to send some amazing men into their lives to fulfill that craving (and need) for love and attention, but also to hold them. I also pray that these boys continue to be curious about my life and who Jesus is in my life and that they’ll continue to seek out who Jesus will be in their lives.