Skid Row Ministry To Me

When I was a chaplain at Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles it was my responsibility to spend some time each week with the men on our recovery program  who were assigned to me.One of the men assigned to me was named Robert.

One time Robert and I were in my office. We had talked pleasantly for a half hour or so. At the end of our conversation I asked Robert if I could pray for him while we were together. He said “I would like that

Then I asked him what would he like me to pray for. That stopped him. All of a sudden he got nervous and cautious. At first I thought I had put him on the spot. I worried that he felt I had gone to far and that he mostly just wanted to get out of my office. In a situation like that I have learned to wait, pray silently until I would have a better picture of the situation and what I should do.

After a few seconds of  waiting. Then, with deep emotion, he shared his secret desire with me. He said “When I sit on the benches behind the mission i watch the young men who are out there too.  They are laughing and joking around and having a good time. I wish I could laugh like that again”. I was so touched. I prayed for him  to have the freedom to laugh again he so desperately desired “.I prayed for  him  from the depth of my heart.

As happened so often when I talked with program folks My Higher Power used the heart felt prayer request he had to reach my need. Robert’s decision to tell m to enjoy life more and not to think I needed to treat life as a war.

A chaplain at a hospital I in which I was being treated at the the time asked me how many men I thought I had helped. I told him that I had no idea and had never had that on my mind. The thing I was concerned about was that the folks I was with were being helped 1/3 as much as they helped me.

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