|Now is the Time!
If your walk with Lord is like mine, time is always a problem.
I'm too busy.
Grass needs cutting, family needs attention, the car needs an oil change, the checkbook needs balancing, my Stockade needs supplies, a letter has to go out, dentist appointment, make time for devo's and then the weekend is over and a full week of work arrives.
Somewhere in there I also need(ed) to have some down time talking to and more importantly listening to our Lord.
This is a pattern that never seems to end.
Ever feel overwhelmed? Like you are just not making the cut?
I do. Life is just too busy.
When I reach times like that I try to remember that prayer is needed, prayer is not complicated and that prayer simply works.
Despite the busyness of our daily lives, prayer is still a necessity. Prayer is a two way street but too often we focus on the one way portion where we do the talking and not enough listening.
What blessings are missed due to lack of connection via prayer or by dismissing answers to our prayer?
|Now is the time - Prayer continued
When I began college right in the heart of New York City I embarked on a consistent and regular prayer and devotion time, unlike any other period of my life. (I'm not sure why other than the old adage that there are no atheists in foxholes!). Ralph Essery told me about a CSB Unit in dire need of help in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City (the nickname was an accurate description). Living about a mile away on the last block in Hell's Kitchen, I ventured over.
The walk to West 51st Street was brisk and the address easily found. I had never been down this far as I had been scared to death to walk this far into the neighborhood
Standing before St. Paul's House seeing the neon cross blinking, I was speechless. Right then and there I decided this wasn't for me and walked away with no intention of knocking on the door or ever returning.
The building was a brownstone that had seen better days. The entire building was only a double door and window wide, maybe 12 or 13 feet. Across the street was a very seedy flophouse and I walked past several butcher shops with goats and rabbits hanging in the window and nobody in the heart of the Hell's Kitchen seemed to speak English.
Did I mention the goats and rabbits? Hanging on hooks in store windows? I was out of my element.
I'm not sure how long or how fast I walked. All I know is I wanted out. Fear is a great motivator to walk fast.
After a half block I knew something was wrong and I decided to slow down and right on the street had a very lengthily prayer and listening time with God. In retrospect, one of the best in my life. I walked and at times talked out loud (I'm sure nobody noticed as it seemed others were talking to themselves on the street as well).
I was explaining how I was the wrong person for this job. Where was the nice church, gymnasium and great facilities? How could I, an English only speaking white guy from Orchard Park ever work in a ministry to Hispanic street kids from what was just a step above a gang controlled neighborhood called Hell's Kitchen that had goats hanging in the windows and people passed out on the street?
Did I mention the drug dealers I passed on one of the corners or the common place occurrence of men and women relieving themselves on the street? It was not a pleasant area and that did not seem to matter.
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The reply I received back was, why not you?
I have no money, I don't have any and from the looks of things neither do they. I need money to do things!
You don't need money.
Yes I do.
No, I don't was the reply.
I can't do this, it will get in the way of my college work.
You're the person.
It wasn't an argument, it was a soft discussion inside and I was being completely honest and true in my prayer. The clarity of the responses was unlike anything I had ever experienced before or since.
You're the person.
I knew that running Stockade at St. Paul's was not what I was cut out for but I also knew this was an answer to my year long prayer.
You're the person.
With much trepidation I walked up the stairs of St. Paul's and when I left and hour or so later, I was the Chief Ranger (actually the only leader) of Stockade #1217.
In the several years that followed drug addicts and drunks walked into our meetings regularly, we saw cars being stripped, people being beat, someone get stabbed, saw guns pulled out, had no budget to work with, learned to like eating goat and I never did learn Spanish (except the words the boys should not be saying).
It's been 23 years since I left that group and the answer to prayer by being thrust into that position, which I tried to deny, was life changing. It has affected my ministry, those who were in and are involved in my ministry and taught me to put Christ at the heart of what we do.
I'm a leader with Brigade #2047. A group with great men, teens and boys. Some years we have had nearly 250 people involved weekly, 150 involved in Stockade alone, and at times have had a $12,000 budget with an awesome facility to use. A world away from Hell's Kitchen.
|I'm assembling plans and leaders for next year and am praying for direction and for the boys we'll have walk through the door. I'm not praying for a 250 person group, a huge budget, or a better facility. My aim is not for greatness by having the biggest and the best or the most well known group in the area. Far from it. None of that matters.
I seek the type of ministry and Christ centered group that attracted 13 hispanic kids, some with switchblades in their back pocket. Kids that used to sit atop a 7 foot high wall, working on memory verses while a drug dealer conducted business 10 feet away & where we shared a bottle of Pepsi. It was a group that God had to be in control because I certainly did not have the experience, the culture or the knowledge to be there.
The faces are now different, but boys are still the same. Our ministry has grown but the need for prayer is needed now more than ever.
Only through prayer can a Ministry truly thrive. Only through prayer can we gain a sense of what we are to do and how. Only through prayer will we grasp what the Lord has for us.
August 24 & 25 has been designated by CSB Ministries as 24 Hours of Prayer. CSB is asking people to commit to a 30 minute time slot for prayer for this ministry.
Let's praise Him for 70 years of ministry that we have been allowed to take part in and seek a direction for the decades to come.
Set aside 30 minutes on August 24 & 25 to pray specifically for CSB Ministries. That time of prayer may affect our ministry for decades to come.