The Prayer That Connects

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Feb_Saskia“Our Father, in Heaven …”

Words rise from a small dark-skinned man, bearded and wrinkled in the back corner.

“Hallowed be thy name.”

His voice warbles. So many thoughts trapped by his thick accent, his English fails the mind behind it. His voice is soft, not commanding or powerful. But when he prays we all go quiet, almost holding our breath. Waiting to hear the prayers of this man.

“Pray with me,” he says.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done.”

The sound rises up stronger, a mish-mash of memorised translations, accents and tones. This is a picture of that kingdom, this room full of translations and accents and tones.

“On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

When we file towards the front of the room for communion, I feel that holy kingdom space trembling in my bones. I picture the line to heaven’s table looking just as unusual, crippled and contradictory as this line, defined by the level ground of grace through which we all approach the bread and wine, baptised in this prayer spoken over us by a small Ethiopian man.

“Give us this day, our daily bread.”

This prayer when all my strength feels sapped, and a phone call comes from a dear friend. Her husband has left and she is shattered this day. As I lie curled in her bed where he slept just the night before, I find myself whispering, “Daily bread, daily bread, daily bread.” I have nothing left to give and nothing to offer, so it’s all I can ask is for this day.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

This prayer when we sit and discuss the debts of the girls I work with, which in my eyes look overwhelming. I wish I could sweep all the papers off the table and let them start fresh, until I look at them bent in silent prayer for one another and realise that the eternal debts are swept away, and this momentary monetary trouble will soon pass.

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

This prayer as my eyes scan the room, sinning in the secret recesses of my heart, with discord and judgement and bitterness. And I realise I have so far to go to be free. The darkness is so close, in such a community, but we turn, we turn, we turn again to the light.

“For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory”

This prayer when I see us through fresh eyes, finite creatures of infinite worth. A broken down, mish-mash of people joined by the love and worship of our Lord.

“Forever, and ever, Amen.”

The old man’s voice cracks on the Amen, and we who waited with great anticipation echo our Amens in a chorus of ill-fitted translations, and accents, and tones.

This is the kingdom, at work in broken bodies and broken hearts, breathing out hope together. Touching those He would touch, sinners just like us. In this communal prayer, we all have a place, a desire spoken out. It is where we, the ill-fitted and unusual, belong.

Amen, Amen.

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Dear SheLovelys,

Saskia has been inspiring us and challenging us with her beautiful words here on SheLoves for well over a year. She’s family. We love her heart for the women she works with in Amsterdam and the commitment she has to seeing trafficked women find freedom and hope. She inspires us with her courage to go into the dark places where many fear to tread, bringing God’s light into a part of the world where there is so little.

But it’s hard and draining work. And additional tragedies and personal losses have hit these past months and left her reeling. When one of our sisterhood hurts, we hurt too.

So, our Saskia is taking a sabbatical for a few months right now–to rest and heal and find fresh hope in the arms of the God who loves her. And we want to bless this rest time for her.

She would love to go on a soul-renewing holiday, somewhere within Europe and we would *love* to send her. She needs a chance to get away and find some space to heal, a time to hear her heart and the Spirit whispering to her.

Our desire is to give Saskia $600 to go on this little break within Europe. Will you help us love on her this month?

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*Unfortunately we can’t give tax receipts at this time, but we can give you a high five and our deepest appreciation. Also: Any additional funds raised will support the work of SheLoves, so we can bring daily strength and Love right here. 

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Image credit: Nancy

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