A Homeless Man’s Prayer

As I walked through Edmonton’s inner-city accompanied by the youth of Grand Centre Alliance Church on a social issues walk, I remembered feeling tired and concentrated on finishing the walk so that we could get back to air conditioning and I could go home.

As I was about to step onto the sidewalk across from the CN building on 103A Avenue, I was called back to the Homeless Memorial Statue by the youth I was supposed to be leading. I begrudgingly turned and noticed my group huddled around a poor, beleaguered man, who was sitting on the ground. As I got closer, the man asked us to pray for him. Immediately, I felt ashamed because my impatience had almost caused us to miss out on an opportunity to pray for this man. Thankfully, Grace, the youth pastor, prayed for the man.

After we finished our prayer, the man asked if he could pray too. In a halting voice, which lacked about as much confidence as it could, the man said a prayer based on John 3:16.

I was struck by the immeasurable beauty of the man’s prayer. It was far from eloquent. In fact, it was just the opposite, but the man’s humility was awe-inspiring. As he prayed, he apologized numerous times as he forgot the words to the verse. His words, he thought, were not fit for the human beings he was surrounded by.

But as I sat crouching on the ground, I saw something else. I saw the humble centurion and the lowly sinful woman from Luke 7. I heard the voice of the prodigal son finally acknowledging, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” More importantly, I saw the Lord running to his son, throwing his arms around him, and kissing him.

The Holy Spirit used my brother’s prayer to show me the correct response to my impatience: not shame, but to humbly come and tell my Father about it.

By: Benjamin Wiebe