Here in Lawrence, Kansas, our local homeless shelter recently signed a contract to buy property in anticipation of building a much needed new facility. In an effort to raise necessary funds for a matching grant, several local churches are designating either the first or second Sunday in November as “Shelter Sunday.”
I wrote the prayer below specifically for Lawrence churches to use on this occasion. The intent is that the plain text is spoken by the worship leader and the bold is spoken by the congregation. This prayer could be used in an inter-faith gathering if the final line were simply removed. And with a few minor changes, it would work for any community, not just Lawrence. Homeless shelters everywhere need our prayers and our contributions.
Holy One, Creator of Heaven and Earth,
Those of us with homes too often take for granted
four walls and a roof
the comfort of a bed
the privacy of bedroom doors
the luxury of a hot shower at the end of a long day.
We pray this morning for the many people in our community
who do not have a home:
for the mentally ill and addicted,
for the physically disabled and ill,
for victims of oppressive social structures and a failed economy–
for all homeless in Lawrence, young and old, we pray.
We pray this morning for the many people who contribute to the work
of the Lawrence Community Shelter:
for Loring Henderson and all the staff,
for the board of directors,
for those who volunteer their time and talents,
for those who give generously of their money.
We thank you, God, for movement toward a more adequate facility,
and we pray your continued guidance and blessing:
as money is raised
as the site is prepared
as the facility is built
and as, finally, the move is made.
Grant us compassion for all of your people.
May we open our hearts and our hands to the homeless in our community,
as we seek to follow the path of your son, Jesus Christ.