It’s a really wonderful part of the worship tradition at the City of Youth. At some point in each chapel service, our kids have the chance to give back. Not financially, of course, but of what they have. They do this through their prayer requests.
During what we might call an offertory, the kids walk forward and place written prayers and prayer requests in a large bowl at the front of the auditorium. Many of the prayers are simple, a line or two composed at the last minute, but nonetheless heartfelt.
Lord, thank you for giving me this place to live.
Others are longer, sometimes several pages, a pouring out of a broken heart, seeking God’s grace and blessing.
They show an orphan’s gratitude for being adopted by the Father of Love, even as He as adopted each of us.
Perhaps a life lesson there, too . . .
There is a common theme to many of the requests: a desire to bless even as these children see God’s blessing in their own lives. And, interestingly, the blessing is almost always directed toward a family member. “God please deliver my mother from her drug addiction,” or “God, please help my dad to come to know you.”
A little background here. These precious children are at the City of Youth because they have been abandoned, abused, or exploited by these same mothers and fathers—often in ways that are beyond comprehension. Evil. Unspeakable.
Yet the Love they have encountered, the grace that has washed over them, is so powerful that they cannot help but want to reflect it back to those who have hurt them.
Because that’s what love does.
So very often the request is
God, please give me the chance to tell my family about you.
Because that’s what loves does.
It’s a lesson I need to constantly re-learn. You, too?
It is a lesson we all need to practice, so today, as I usually do this time of year, I ask you to do something.
Bless as you have been blessed.
During the final few weeks of the year, Hope Unlimited must raise 40% of our annual budget—funds that go directly to transforming the lives of the children our Savior loves so deeply… even as he loves you and me.
It is a faith journey for us each year, as we trust both God and His faithful to provide the necessary support so we can continue investing in the lives of these kids. But God has always been faithful—as have those He has called to walk alongside us on this journey.
So today, I ask you to consider giving back—to bless Hope’s kids even as you have been blessed.