Hanging in the hood just ain’t what it used to be.

One Friday night, I sat around a bonfire, with a group of people. It wasn’t just any bonfire, it was at a church several blocks outside of downtown, in a very interesting neighborhood. We watched people stroll along the sidewalk for several hours and greeted all that passed by. We weren’t casting out lines just to try to reel in some lost fish who needed salvation. We were being friendly in the Lord and hoping someone might want a Smore, a cold drink or just some fellowship. 2 young men cruised by several times and finally walked up and asked for water. I noticed one had a large ace bandage wrapped around his right arm.

“The water is right over there. Hey what happened to your arm?. Would you like to sit down and get prayer?”

Jared sat down, as his eyes continued to nervously survey the street in front of us. “Yes, can you pray over my arm? It’s broken and I am afraid. I have a hit out on me.” A brief moment of fear hit me. I smiled and replied, “A hit? Really? Tell me about it “, just like I heard this story every day! Then I non-chalantly kicked my big A$$ purse under a chair. He tells me that someone wants to kill him and I am worried about my purse getting lifted! Just sayin. Don’t judge me! Anyone who knows me understands that bag is my security blanket! Ha! Lord help me!

Jared didn’t seem to notice and went on to tell us his story, as his friend continued to pace behind us. We began to lay hands on Jared as his eyes darted back and forth, keeping a watchful eye on the street. “Jared, please just close your eyes. We won’t let anyone harm you.” Now I was like a mother bear sitting in front of him. Hell with my purse. They would have to shoot through me first. Ha! We began praying in tongues and 30 seconds later Jared’s shoulders slumped as the Holy Spirit hit him and peace flooded his body. Jared had finally relaxed and we continued to pray. The Holy Spirit suddenly said “ask him about his dog.” His dog? The guy tells me he has a hit out on him and you want me to ask about a dog? That must be me thinking that so I can think this is just another normal Friday night. “No ask him about his dog. Ask him about his dog!”

5 minutes passed and we could tell that Jared was feeling much better. He even mentioned that the pain in his arm had reduced. “What about a dog? The Holy Spirit keeps telling me to ask you about a dog.”. Jared’s eyes suddenly welled up with tears, “I had to put my dog down. I loved that dog. It was my protection. It always protected me.”. I laid my hand on his chest and said “God loves and cares about you and wants to heal your heart about the loss of your dog.” Jared bowed his head and you could see how touched he was that God cared about him. He softly replied ” I also lost my dad. It has been really hard.”

I was trying to hold back the tears. Sometimes it is so beautiful to see God heal, right in front of you, that it feels like the very first time. This stuff never gets old. The guys that were with me took over and continued to pray over Jared. Jim told him how much God, the Father, loved him and that He would protect him if he asked. That he didn’t need to be afraid. I don’t know what else was said because I knew it was time for me to leave the circle. Sometimes you feel this energy that is so intimate and sacred when men pray for other men, that you just don’t dare to interfer with that Godly testosterone love exchange.

What a blessing to be a part of that. Made me feel very humble and fortunate to be there. Stop looking at the homeless or people on the streets as thugs or someone to fear. They are someone’s child, someone’s sibling or someone’s parent. Or simply someone’s friend. Lord help us to love and see people just like you do. Even just a fraction of how you do. We have such a hurting world. Start really seeing people. And leave your big A$$ purse at home.

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