Stop rolling your eyes.
If you’re honest, I’ll bet at least a handful of you are contemplating a click of the mouse right now, mumbling something like, “There’s nothing good in the news–I can’t even stand to turn on the TV or open the paper! And there’s no way I’d show any of it to my kids!”
OK. Calm down. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. This is a really cool idea and if you’re into intercessory prayer, I think you’ll be on board.
Over the past couple of weeks you’ve probably heard the story of Ted Williams, the man with the “Golden Voice” who was discovered panhandling on the side of a Columbus, Ohio freeway [you can watch a CBS Morning Show clip here]. A drug addict and homeless man who hadn’t seen his mother in 20 years, Williams once held a job as a radio announcer and was blessed with a new beginning as the voice for a Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ad that aired this past Sunday on ESPN.
Getting to the point: our local Grand Rapids Press printed his story and I was struck by Williams’ final remarks: “I just hope,” he said, “everyone will pray for me.”
This article is now cut out and will be read by our family tonight at dinner before making its way into our photo-album prayer journal. We’ve cut out and prayed for other newspaper faces before, including a very moving season of prayer for a local 17 year-old boy whose poor choices meant that Christmas would be spent in jail. We prayed for his safe and quick return home. We prayed that he would find one good friend in jail. And we prayed for his family.
In my opinion, although sweeping prayers “for our government” or “for our leaders” are not bad, I’m not convinced that they mean much–if anything–to kids. Who are these leaders, anyway? And…what’s a government??
No, kids need faces. They need a story. And they need a reason to care. Wouldn’t you agree that a man returning home to his mother after 20 years of being apart would conjure powerful emotions in a child whose entire world revolves around mom and dad?
I believe that drawing the hurts of the world into your home–the hurts of strangers–is a powerful demonstration of intercessory prayer for your kids. It gives your family the opportunity to talk about the choices of these individuals, about what went right and what went wrong. It opens the door for empathy and compassion: “How would you feel if…” And of course, it reminds us of the hope and joy available to all in Christ; it reminds us that even dead-beats and dead-ends can find rescue and resurrection.
They just need someone praying for them.
Will it be you?