Randa sat on the doorstep outside the tiny dilapidated apartment and let me have one of the folding chairs. Bryan’s girlfriend sat in the other while he leaned against the railing. The sounds of loud music and louder voices hammered along the line of doors with peeling paint and sagging gutters.
After a few minutes of small talk, Barry told me why he’d wanted to talk to me after church the last Lord’s Day. I offered a couple of ideas that we discussed for a while. Then I asked Barry if we could pray for him. “Sure,” he replied, “I need all the help I can get.”
I suppose I might have seen it coming, that this man who hadn’t been in church for fifteen years was about to put some devout Sunday-Schoolers to shame, about to teach me another lesson in the power of poverty.
When I asked if he wanted to go inside or just pray where we were sitting, his response was both earnest and simple.
“We can pray right here,” he said, “I ain’t ashamed.”
What power there would be if all those who claim to follow Jesus could so declare with such lack of hesitation!
Maybe I’ll suggest to my church that we move our Bible study and prayer meetings from the air-conditioned privacy of our classrooms into the hard-stoned grit of the project’s parking lots. Yeah, I’ll do that. Right after I suggest we forget ordering the two thousand dollar fiberglass baptistery and keep using the horse trough that has worked just fine for the previous three dozen baptisms.