"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.  But I'm afraid He would ask me the same question." - Anonymous

I was staying overnight in a downtown Chicago hotel.   I had come to spend the night in the city for a follow-up appointment scheduled for early the next morning at the Rehab Institute of Chicago.  I had just finished eating a delicious meal at the Cheesecake Factory, which was, of course, topped off by a huge piece of gourmet cheesecake.   The amount of food I had ordered was way more than I could eat in a single sitting.  

It was a cold wintery night and I was walking back to the hotel room, completely stuffed from the meal I had just eaten.  Despite my full stomach, I was still carrying a full bag of leftovers I planned on eating later, just in case I got hungry again.  I remember passing a homeless family huddled together on the sidewalk begging for food.  I glanced at them, but not long enough to make any eye contact.  I was saddened by their situation, but kept on walking.  Being a Christian, I did, at least, pray that God would help them in their time of need.

When I arrived back to my room and was putting away the take-home bag in the fridge, God convicted me of what had just taken place on the streets of Chicago.   He did not convict me of what I had done, but on what I didn't do.  He didn't condone my prayer, but my inability to act on it.  Here I was, praying to God that He would provide this family what they needed, while I was carrying that very thing in my hands. 

Sometimes, I pray for a need I have the ability to meet but choose to ignore it.  I rationalize my inaction by saying it's not my responsibility and someone else will take care of it.     I am, by no means, minimizing the power of prayer.  The prayers of many to a wonderful and merciful God is why I am alive today and still capable of writing these words.   BUT WHEN WE PRAY FOR THE NEEDS OF OTHERS, WE MUST BE OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT WE MIGHT BE THE ANSWER

We live in a broken world and as Christians, we are called to lovingly pray for the needs of our neighbors.  When we see others hurting we are often quick to pray for them, or at least say we will, and in these prayers we simply ask for someone to take action in their favor.  But we tend to lose sight of the fact that many times we are called to do something.  When we see someone in need, we need to pray and ask God if we can meet their need.   And if God says "Yes," we should do it!

Matthew 25:34-40 The Message (MSG)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’