Sandy Halvorsen -
It was Day 2 of Prayer Walk America, and I was struggling. I hadn’t even opened my eyes yet to greet the day, but a dread was in my heart.
We had walked the first part of Santa Monica Boulevard the day before and had encountered a bizarre array of human beings in the depths of moral degradation that I had no grid for.
“I don’t have any love for those folks,” I said to the Lord. “I know that You love them, but I am bankrupt in this category right now. I could prayerwalk a million miles and if I don’t have love it is a useless exercise. Please do a work in me and give me Your love for those we meet today.”
And as I can’t love the unlovely without God’s help, the rest was up to Him.
We resumed our walk down Santa Monica Boulevard that day and again encountered folks wallowing in the squalor of disastrous life choices, drugs and moral decay. But what I began to experience as I prayed for them was a total gift of God’s grace.
Tears streamed down my face as I saw an unkempt, grey-bearded gentleman curled up in a fetal position on a park bench. I felt intuitively that he had deep wounding, had never known his mother’s love, and had been living his whole adult life making conscious choices as a reaction to those painful, hidden wounds. Through my tears I began to intercede that the Lord would heal his spirit and meet that deep need within him.
Those tears of intercession carried me down the street where we encountered a young man sitting on the sidewalk looking more like a wild animal than a person. As he looked up at me, full of drugs, his body twitching and torment in his blue eyes, my heart broke. I gave him what was in my hand, the last strawberry from the box that my grandchildren had been snacking on as we walked. “Thank you for the strawberry, lady,” the young man so humbly responded. “You wouldn’t have a few dollars for me, would you?”
Not having any money on me, I wasn’t able to meet that request, but began to fervently cry out to the Lord on his behalf. Again I sensed that broken family relationships had caused him to make life choices that had eventually landed him on this sidewalk, desperately needing the next fix.
The light of understanding began to shine into my inner being.
Quite possibly, a lifestyle of choosing to react with rebellion due to broken family relationships was the root cause of the human despair and depravity that I saw being lived out around me.
“Oh God,” I cried. And through my tears I prayed from the familiar verse in the book of Malachi. “Please turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers. Please pour Your grace into those on these streets. May forgiveness flow like a mighty river, being fully given and fully received in every family relationship. May Your healing pour into these despairing souls and lift these lives up and out of the miry clay, setting their feet upon the rock of the knowledge of Your love. May You also pour Your love for lost souls into the hearts of Your people, oh God! Please give your Church such an avalanche of Your passion that we must go forth into the streets and reach the depths of humanity who live there. Please forgive our lack of love and help us, oh Lord. In our deep need we appeal to heaven for every person in our nation!”
How grateful I am that the Lord answered my prayer of that early morning, and gave me a portion of His compassion for the lives that were around me.
How we all need our Savior. How we all need His love, sweet love!