A Prayer for Those With Nowhere to Lay Their Head
I drove through Denver’s downtown. It was Thanksgiving Eve and many were headed out of the city’s core to go home for a long weekend or better yet to someone else’s home for a time of togetherness to mark the tradition of feast and gratitude. It was dusk and I’d just left the History Colorado museum with my children because I wanted again to see the Searching For Home exhibit on Colorado and homelessness. The pictures and the stories were fresh on my mind as I maneuvered my minivan through our city’s streets.
Despite my van’s heater blowing hot air directly on me, I could feel the biting cold. And I could see those in parkas sitting on the sidewalks as I zipped past, hunkering down for a night in the worsening temperatures.
My prayers are often not articulated, but sensed, feelings pushed toward heaven. If I were to articulate my prayers as I drove, they would have gone something like this:
Do you see these people right near me? Ready to make their night right here? Why? Why them and not me? Why the cold tonight when they are out? And why are they here in the first place?
What I know is you are loving and good and yet this feels completely unfair, not right. The contrast of your goodness and their suffering is part of the mystery I do not like.
May I make some requests on their behalf? Trusting that you are indeed good? Knowing that they are my brothers and sisters in this race we call humanity?
God please protect them tonight, from the elements and from the dangers that lurk in the shadows of the night. Give them refuge, unexpected places to lay their heads that are safe and comforting. Help them to find friendly faces along the way that let them know others can be good.
Let them know you are near, that you love them, that you see them. And Lord continue whatever good work you are doing in them and their circumstances that I cannot see with my naked eye. You know it all, the reasons they are here tonight, and you hold it all, the redemption that can come from their stories. I must trust you in the midst of what I do not understand.
You blanket those around the world who have nowhere to lay their heads with your spirit and your stars.
It doesn’t go unnoticed that you know the homeless status, that your first night on earth in human wrapping you laid your head in an unexpected haven. That you are more than familiar with physical discomfort and uncertainty. I don’t need to explain it to you, because you know.
So let me settle right now on lifting my friends who I’ve yet to know, but who I am certain you do and you love, up to you. Let me tell you that I see them, I notice and I do not take my bed, my home, my place for granted.
Lord have mercy on them tonight? It is a question and a statement all at once.
Today’s contribution comes from Alexandra Kuykendall. Alex is a mother of four, writer, and carpooler living in the shadows of downtown Denver with her family. Her husband Derek serves as the Executive Director of Providence Network, a housing ministry to those leaving homelessness, addictions and domestic violence. You can connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.
Join us this season as we pray through Advent together. I have some beautiful guest posts and there’s space for your voice, too. I hope you join us – either by contributing or on your own.