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GUEST COLUMN: The prayer of a homeless man

Joey Haynes

Joey Haynes is a follower of Jesus, married way out of his league, has two of the coolest children in the universe and is blessed to work with an amazing community of believers known as The Church at Rome. 

A little while back, I had the privilege to eat lunch with two of my homeless friends. It was the first time we had a chance to sit down, talk and get to know one another on a more personal level.

We chatted for a while about where we are from, hobbies and family. And then our food arrived. And this is when our time together really got interesting. What happened next is a moment I will remember for a long time. It hit me in the heart. It shamed me. It made me want to proclaim my thanks in a greater way.

What happened? One of my friends offered thanks for our meal.

It wasn’t just a prayer. It was one line that he uttered to the Father in the prayer…

“And be with those who are less fortunate…”

That’s what he said.

He asked God to be with “those” who are less fortunate! And he did it in a way where he was not including himself. What? “You slept in a tent last night in the pouring rain. You have no home, car or electricity! Be with those who are less fortunate?”

Right then and there, I had a little pep talk with myself.

“Did you here that, Joey? The next time you want to throw a pity party, remember that prayer!”

And then I paused and offered a silent prayer of my own.

“God, thank you for having me here today.”

How fortunate are we? But how grateful are we?

Grateful is defined as: feeling or showing thanks to someone for some helpful act.

How often do you express your gratefulness to God for the blessings He gives you?

Sadly, way too often, I find myself swimming around in a pool of self-pity. A pool of pity that I filled myself. I choose to be ungrateful.

But my homeless friend got me to thinking about my life-about how good it is and about how I should express thanks to my God above for all He has done for me. If a man who sleeps in a tent each night can look at the world and see others as “the less fortunate”, surely, I can thank God for the life I live.

So, I started by saying:

God, my day was a great day-filled with many blessings: I talked to my brother on the phone for an hour, I spent good quality time around the dinner table with my wife and children, I had a very encouraging talk on the phone with one of our shepherds and I watched two birds dance around on a tree limb as I sat in my office and studied.

But of all the blessings I’ve received lately, I’m most grateful…for the prayer of a homeless man.

Amen.

Joey Haynes is a follower of Jesus, married way out of his league, has two of the coolest children in the universe and is blessed to work with an amazing community of believers known as The Church at Rome.