Wish I had some pictures of this topic, but don't; am IN a few that have been taken during our ministry times, posted on ministry blogs and even on TV, but that's different. Need to remember to take my camera, but I keep forgetting, b/c all I want to do is "get there" on time. I also had never intended to put this out where a variety of folks could see it. But a couple of hours ago, that changed and I decided that sharing this would be a blessing.
The First Responders prayer group here in Omaha has one main purpose: to pray over murder sites within 48 hours of that evil event. It's been going on for about 3 years; I joined 2 years ago.
Of all the ministries where I've been involved, either in the past or the present, this ranks right up at the top. The opportunities to pray over neighborhoods that have experienced this horrific event, pray for/with family members who have just lost a loved one, to talk with the police and thank them for coming to the sites to offer their support, and on and on. Another blessing: we are able to fellowship with pastors and other folks from all over Omaha at these intense times. Sometimes 5 or 6 people [especially in the extreme heat or cold or rain] but sometimes 50 or 60. Sometimes no one even seems to know we are there; other times the neighbors flood out of their homes for prayer and welcome us. One of the “funny” characteristics... we are meeting for an extremely sad and brokenhearted reason and when we see each other for the first time in several days/weeks, we always hug and say “It’s so good to see you!” And then we always cringe and say “But I’m so sorry to be seeing you.”
Another element that amazes me: the variety of denominations that set aside their differences and come to encourage and bless family members and neighbors.
One recent experience that really amazed me occurred while I had my hand on the shoulder of the mother of a young man who had been murdered in a gang drive-by shooting. I felt a man lay his hand on mine, which was, of course, not uncommon, but when I turned to glance and see who it was, I was floored... it was the Omaha mayor, and I NEVER would have anticipated that from him. A bit later while we had divided up to pray over others, I was standing near him and had my hand on his back. When he turned around, he had tears in his eyes. God is obviously touching his heart... some of us in our hard-hearted attitudes towards him didn't expect that God could really do it... [Maybe it's OUR attitude that needs to change even more than Mr. Mayor's, doncha think?]
We have seen the murders reduce. The godly results are occurring for the benefit of all of us and all of their families and all of those neighborhoods. We are seeing compatibility among pastors and church leaders.
When the leader has introduced me on a local Christian station when he’s talking about prayer walking or First Responders and has asked me to come and share some stories, he always calls me a “prayer walking grandma”, which always makes me knee-jerk a bit. Recently I told him that someone can be in their early 40s and be a grandma; they don’t have to be as old as I am. I know he’s just trying to use me as a “poster child” to encourage people of any age to take the “steps” those directions.
I just wanted to share this. I have SO many stories connected to it that I’m hoping to post at some time. In fact, one situation has been “hmming” my mind and heart for a couple days and I may post it on the next carnival blog re: strength.
See, there’s this guy....