Tuesday, January 10, 2006

three prayers

I do not often write a note like this, but at times, when I step back, or begin to listen, a cluster of concerns begin to form, and I feel as if God is saying something to me. I ask you to pray today for three particular people and their families. Their stories say something about how our world is changing, and how interconnected we all are.

The first prayer would be for Matt. He is serving in a unit in Iraq that is in the very midst of some of the greatest danger. One of his closest friends was killed last week, and the service for his friend was back in the states. Matt's wife, Dani, attended the service. It is a reminder of the human cost of war, which those in the midst of the action pay for with their bodies, minds and spirits. Please keep Matt, Dani, and Matt's parents Steve and Debbie in your prayers. In particular I am amazed at the way Steve and Debbie are able to reach out to others even as they carry this daily concern within them. Steve is our lay leader (he was staff-parish chair when I arrived), and Debbie teaches in the weekday school. Pray for safety in Iraq and for peace of mind here in the states. Surround these people, here and there, with your daily prayers.

The second prayer would be for Lauren. Lauren is a young woman I met in Haiti last year, and she has been a frequent worshipper at Providence. After returning she felt led to go back to Haiti to work with a micro-credit organization that helps working people out of poverty by giving small loans connected to accountability groups. Lauren is a bright woman, who majored in french in college. She lives in Port-Au-Prince, which is at the epicenter of where the danger currently is in Haiti, and she has seen very close friends be kidnapped. I would ask that you pray for Lauren as she considers her next steps, and also for her father Bill, a dentist on the Haiti teams. This would be a prayer for Lauren's discernment. Also, Cap Haitien, where our mission is, is a great distance from PAP and we are assured that it is a safe place. The prayer and concern focus is PAP, not Cap Haitien.

The third prayer would be for Uzma. Uzma is my daughter Liz' best friend. She spent Christmas with us and attended our Christmas Eve service. Uzma and Liz met in AP classes in high school (Uzma was the valedictorian at Parkland High School in Winston-Salem), and they were both awarded scholarships to UNC Chapel Hill. Uzma's father died last night in surgery, in Cary, North Carolina. While, they are of the Islamic faith, I can honestly say that I have rarely met a more compassionate, loving and even Christ-like family. Liz has taken vacations with them, our two families have eaten meals together in Charlotte and Chapel Hill, Uzma has heard me preach a number of times, Liz has observed Ramadan with Uzma and Uzma has observed Lent with Liz. Uzma's father was in the computer repair business, and they had immigrated to the United States from Pakistan years ago under some duress. I am sure the family is not only in grief but also wondering about their economic future. Pam took Liz there last night to be with their family.

I am reminded that the world really is becoming a smaller place, as our lives are impacted by events and people in Iraq, Haiti and Pakistan. I am also aware of the amazing things that happen in the lives of young adults, how they encounter challenges and obstacles and how they are given gifts to overcome them. Your prayer right now might be one of those gifts.

A reading from Psalm 62. 5-8:

"For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us".

So today, I ask that you pray especially for Matt, Lauren and Uzma.


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