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Prayer Tip: “Welcomed as an Angel of God”

December 17, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Galatians 4:14, Hebrews 13:1-2

Though my poor health burdened you, you didn’t look down on me or reject me, but you welcomed me as if I were an angel from God, or as if I were Christ Jesus!

Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

I grew up in a small southern town and attended a little country church one block from my house. When I read today’s Scripture, I instantly thought of an experience I had there many years ago.

As I looked around the sanctuary that Sunday morning, I saw a man I didn’t recognize. His skin was tan, his hair was jet black, and he looked relatively young. His clothes were tattered and torn, and he sat in the back pew alone. He wasn’t our usual kind of visitor and people were clearly jarred by his presence.

I remember thinking it was a little strange; but as a 12 year old boy, I was more interested in getting home and hanging out with my friends. By 12:15, I was home, in my play clothes and having a pre-lunch snack of coke and peanuts on the back porch.

When Mom got home, she told me Dad had something to take care of at church and we’d have lunch a little later. I grabbed another pack of peanuts and headed down to my best friend’s house to play Nerf football.

I later found out that my Dad and a few other deacons were meeting with Poncho, the man I’d seen in church that day. He was new to town – an immigrant from Mexico looking for work and a better life. They got him some food and within a week found him a place to stay. Poncho was a really nice guy and a super hard worker. People started hiring him to mow their lawns, paint their houses and do all sorts of other projects.

A few weeks later, Dad told me he’d been praying for Poncho and asking God to show him more ways to help our new friend. He said he wanted to loan Poncho my 10-speed bicycle. I had a smaller bike, but the 10-speed was practically new and my favorite. Dad said Poncho needed some transportation to get to his jobs and around town. He said he knew I’d be disappointed about not having the 10-speed for a while, but it was just the right and Christian thing to do.

About four months later, Poncho vanished and so did my bike. After all the nice things we’d done for him, I couldn’t believe he just took off like that. Dad, however, never said a harsh word about Poncho and didn’t judge his actions. In fact, I remember our family continuing to pray for him often.

A few months later, Poncho returned to town and found my Dad. He apologized for leaving so abruptly, but said he had found good, steady work in another town. He said he was there to return the bike, but would like to buy it if possible. My Dad gave him the bike for free and wished him well. That night at dinner, we thanked God for Poncho and prayed that God would continue to protect and bless him throughout his life.

I learned a lot from that encounter about welcoming others, even strangers, into our lives. It helped inform and shape my faith in many ways, including my prayer life. Our family prayed for Poncho when he came, while he was with us, when he abruptly left, when he came back, and after he left for good with our well wishes. A big part of truly welcoming guests into our lives is praying for them.

 

Prayer

Gracious and generous God, As the Advent candle of love shines today, may we remember your great love for us and your call to share that love with the world. Help us to welcome others as if we are welcoming you. Help us to love and serve all with your compassion, from family and friends to guests and strangers. And may those whom we serve feel your care and comfort. May they know your rest and peace. Bless them and keep them safe from harm and wrapped in the love of the Christ child. In his name we pray, Amen.

 

GPS Insights

Chris Holliday

Chris Holliday

This week's prayer tip is by Chris Holliday. Chris joined the Resurrection staff in 2009 and currently serves as the Connection and Care Pastor and Director of Adult Discipleship at Resurrection West.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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