child welfare colleague community prayer

Battlefield Prayers

We know that this world is no friend to children. 

Many people answer the call to be teachers, youth leaders, doctors, social workers, lawyer/advocates, etc., taking all that they are to stand in the gap between the world’s harsh intent and the hope represented by children’s dreams. I am often overwhelmed by the passion of leaders who have made the bottom line measurement for the decisions they make in their careers not dollars made, but lives changed. They courageously live with the marginalization that comes with truth telling and the refusal to “just accept this check.”

How difficult and demoralizing it is when those who are fighting for children realize that sometimes, they have to fight their own co-workers, families, colleagues, faith community members. 

The sad truth is, while there may be “an enemy out there” in the world somewhere, our most vicious battles are fought with the people who walk beside us, who are supposed to be wearing the same team uniform we wear.

What do you do when you are afraid to turn your back in your own community because your own community is no friend to children?

You are demoralized because you see your own people nurturing violent streets and releasing bullets content to hit any target…

You are demoralized because you see your peer teachers transformed into “the jaded unwilling” – too jaded to try a fresh approach and unwilling to try and try and try and try again with a child and that child’s family….

You are demoralized because the social workers who started with you now believe the “those people” narrative…..

You are demoralized because your peers seem clueless about what causes family breakdown, what creates pathologies, and how to see and build on strength that all people possess. 

Pray for peers and colleagues.

It’s easier to think some children are broken, deserving of their sad lot – and that they broke themselves, than it is to peep the cards of a system that depends on rampant brokenness to fuel job creation. At a conference examining the seven NY neighborhoods that send children and adults into the juvenile/criminal justice system, the question was asked: what would we need in community if sending people to prison was not an option? What would our community investments look like? 

A hush came over the room. Some saw the question as idealistic and Pollyanna. After all, we’ll always have poor people (Jesus said so, right?), always need prisons, always need a mammoth child welfare system, always need scores of youth prisons…always.

Really?  So, you are not working for real change, because we’ll always…..

Pray for peers and colleagues.

Friends, you stand in the gap for children.  Check and re-check the assumptions and beliefs that called you to the gap. If you believe we’ll “always have” brokenness, then your practice will reflect your beliefs. You won’t be working to put yourself out of business, for sure.  

Wolves are among us. Vicious wolves. These wolves work for another master and their job is to feed the voracious appetite of systems dependent on brokenness. They work to seduce you — you precious leaders who are called to be Repairers of the Breach –– into abandoning your passion, giving up your hope and idealism, ‘growing out’ of your desire to be change in the world so that you will follow them.

Be on guard. Stay awake. Stay informed.

If you find yourself being a better priest to Caesar and power than you are to the children in your care — this word is a reminder to you:  God has poured something into you. God has not given up on you. It doesn’t matter how you got seduced. What matters is that you can quit the seducer. God loves you, you have a part in God’s plan for restoration, and God is not firing you.

Pray for peers and colleagues.

I’m praying God’s refreshment in your life; God’s power and God’s love for you…I trust God for your turnaround, for your repositioning, for your wake-up.

There is a powerful wind blowing – sent by The One who really can meet every need in our community – through us. I’m praying that you get caught up in The Wind again….

Acts 20:29-32 (The Message Translation)
“I know that as soon as I’m gone, vicious wolves are going to show up and rip into this flock, (people) from your very own ranks twisting words so as to seduce disciples into following them instead of Jesus. So stay awake and keep up your guard. Remember those three years I kept at it with you, never letting up, pouring my heart out with you, one after another. “Now I’m turning you over to God, our marvelous God whose gracious Word can make you into what God wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need in this community of holy friends.”

By avoiceinramah

Following The Way. Wife, Mom, Pastor, RevSisterGirlfriend, Advocate. Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman. I believe another world is possible.

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