Saturday, 27 June 2015

Prayers of illiterate saints

...maculate cities are spared
through the prayers of illiterate saints...

At the very end of WH Auden's poem "In Transit" a phrase appears.

Maculate - i.e. dirty - cities are spared, are saved, are kept from destruction... by the prayers of illiterate saints, by the supplications of the dusty and unknown, those whose names do not grace cathedrals and the lips of the high and mighty - other than perhaps in response to a command.

We have the privilege and the challenge of knowing some of these, up close and personal.

Each Tuesday evening we gather for a small Bible study and prayer time in the home of sister Shanti.
The format is simple.  We are looking at what Jesus said about Himself - as recorded by his beloved disciple John.  We normally meditate on a short passage - with me sharing some thoughts on it, and then Sheba elaborating it a bit more, sometimes with a parable that fits it, other times with some visual pictures.  We then spend time memorising the key portion that we were looking at, and then have a time of prayer together.  We finish off with a simple meal.  The Eichers normally bring the beans or dal - and Sis. Shanti cooks plenty of rice.

It's a small room that we meet in - and so even though our numbers are small, it is usually full.

Last Tuesday, one of the ladies shared that her house had been leaking with the onset of the monsoon. Let's call her 'Nalini.'  Nalini is a widow and is HIV positive.  Her adolescent son has dropped out of school and has been working at a roadside 'Chinese' food stall.  He has some mental short-comings.  Her daughter has been trying to go to school, but seems to be in and out.  Nalini loves the Lord, in a simple way, but overall her actions seem quite childish, bordering on what a mental illness.  It seems her 15 year old daughter is the one who really is leading the household.

Nalini told us that she had been praying about the leaking roof which was causing them misery in heavy monsoon rains.  The week before she had mentioned it in our little meeting and we had all prayed about it.  And then the good news: in the intervening time - someone had decided to put a big plastic sheet over the whole roof - including their section - and now no more water dripping in!  Small mercies.

Shanti told us that she has a neighbour who is clearly mentally ill.   They have to share a common water source - and this has led to friction, as the lady next door keeps shouting that she wants the pipe over on her side early in the morning.  The lady inevitably goes down to the watchman and creates a racket by shouting about the water.  This takes place almost daily and is the cause of discomfort for all the folks living in the building.

Sis. Shanti has been giving accommodation to an orphan boy for the last 2 weeks.  He is on holiday from his hostel in another city, and his grandmother had taken him out of school and had him collecting garbage and drinking her home-brewed alcohol that she sells locally - so we just could not have him go to his 'home' during this holiday time.

This boy saw what was happening about the lady next door.  So he prayed along with Shanti.  Shanti said that she had of course prayed about her neighbour before, but not in the intense way this boy did.

What happened?  Well both the water seems to be coming at a far greater level than it did before - and the neighbour lady seems more quiet and has not been shouting so much.  Small evidences of prayerful requests.

Our Father cares for His children.  Over and over.  Let us pray.

Maculate cities (Thane included) are being spared.

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