The Prayer of Heather Town

She ministers to women in the sex trafficking industry, in India, and now she’s going to the Philippines.  Supported by our church, One Love, she came and shared this prayer that she wrote three years ago.  I was impressed upon by many of the phrases she uttered, and I wanted to share it on this blog first because I wanted a place to keep it, and two, because I really think it will touch many people.

Today, Lord, I once again take up my cross and follow you.
Forgive me for choosing daily to be COMPLACENT. Happiness has been my god and I have believed I’m entitled to it. Forgive me for all the excuses I have for not responding to you immediately, with urgency, and sacrificially. Forgive me for complaining about being bored as I sit and do nothing.

Forgive me for the times I have tried to make carrying my cross more COMFORTABLE. I have been too concerned with finding things to make it easier; gadgets and toys to make my cross lighter, smaller, and cushioned. Forgive me for making excuses and not going with you because I was worried about my health, safety, reputation, loneliness, financial security, and ability to handle extreme weather and getting dirty. Forgive me for focusing on my comfort rather than my character.

Forgive me for the times I have not followed you because it wasn’t CONVENIENT. I didn’t want to go out of my way to see the needs around me because then I would feel guilty for not doing something about them. Forgive me for not loving my neighbors–I don’t even know their names. Forgive me for being so busy with my priorities that I forget to meet with you and then squeezing a few verses in at the end of my day so I can check devo’s off my to-do list. Forgive me for trying to pacify my conscience by giving just enough to feel good about myself but not enough to inconvenience my lifestyle.

Today, Lord, I once again take up my cross and follow you. Shake me of my complacency; I want to live daily with an urgency to radically be the change you call me to be. Strip me of my comforts; may my love for you be a driving force to live with joyful surrender. Scratch out my schedule; I don’t want my circumstances or timeline to influence my dedication and obedience to take up my cross and follow you. Here I am; Send Me.

Last summer you said it is time, get ready to go. Here I am; send me wherever, whenever, to whomever. I go with you Jesus, for you are all I need. You will equip me for your work as I daily depend on you. TODAY I take up my cross and follow you.

I’m not looking for comfortable living, but daily self dying, as I live among the poorest of the poor and minister to the girls and boys enslaved as sex toys– sold, traded, used, and abused like disposable cups. Here I am; send me to love the oppressed and the oppressor for your name’s sake, Jesus, and to take your cross to the outer boundaries of your church–to pioneer new territory and expand your kingdom to the least of these.

The cross you have given me is perfect. What a joy to release the burden of the material for the burden of soul investing! When I’m sick in my bed, thank you for the time to look up to you, for when I am weak you make me strong. When I’m robbed thank you that it was never mine to begin with.  When I’m persecuted and mistreated because I’m your daughter, thank you, because it means they see you in me. When I face loneliness, thank you for not leaving my side and for holding me in the darkest hours of the night. When I am dependent on the generosity of others thank you for giving me opportunities to be radically generous to those in need. When I get dirty, touch people with diseases and lice, and sit on a dirt floor and eat with my hands, thank you for taking my filthy sin upon yourself so I could be washed in your blood. When I’m covered in sweat, breathing in polluted dusty air, and fighting off mosquitoes thank you that you bring the cool rain and paint the sky with the most beautiful colors at sunset. When I collide with a different culture and language and adjust my taste buds to new foods thank you that the gospel is cross-cultural, for all people, and that you can show me how to love. Today I TAKE UP MY CROSS and follow you.

My time is yours; each day is a gift from you. I’m done with fitting you into my timeline–be my agenda. Your detours are divine appointments to engage the hurting, broken, and forgotten. The faces of each person you have brought across my path are etched into my heart and I cannot forget them. My love for you compels me to go back. Even if just one life is transformed for your name’s sake, it is more than worth it. Wake me up in the night to intercede for the saints; get me up in the morning with a song of praise on my lips. I choose to feed my soul on the bread of life before I feed my physical body. May your word pour out of me like water to the thirsty, and may my life be like a fruitful tree for the display of your splendor. All I am and have I give back to you with open hands knowing that all my needs you will meet as I go with you. Today I take up my cross and FOLLOW YOU.

Christian, wake up, get up and go–go to Jesus’ feet until he speaks. Then obey with faith, the kind of faith and love for Jesus that got Peter out of a boat to walk on water, so that he could be closer to his Lord. He will provide all that you need as long as you fix your eyes on him. Today take up your cross and follow him.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

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