Praying for Partners

Praying for Partners

Posted on March 27, 2017

BY JEN NOELLE, GRACE ATTENDER

Weíre in the midst of Lent, a season to reflect and repent, to prepare our hearts for Easter. Personally, I love the intentionality of Lent. Any change in life habits can seem daunting, but the 40-day timeframe makes practices feel more manageable. People often fast, as Jesus did in the wilderness, but after listening to the recent Drift series, I wanted to take a more active approach to my prayer life, rethinking the ways I pray for and with my children.

My husband and I have always tried to be very purposeful about engaging our entire family in the mission of God. Part of this meant becoming a host family for Safe Families for Children, an organization that allows parents experiencing crisis to voluntarily place their children in a Christian host home while they address their life challenges. Not long after completing the application process, we received a call, asking if we would take two school-age brothers.†

We hosted them for eight weeks, and they changed our lives forever. God opened our hearts and our eyes toward people who looked and lived differently from us, and we began to think differently about poverty and racism and justice. We could never go back.



When the boys returned to their mom, we helped connect them with Shepherd Community Center, a non-profit whose goal is to break the cycle of poverty on the near east side of Indianapolis. The boys and their younger sister attend the after-school program there, which not only keeps them safe but also provides Biblical teaching, academic help, and a healthy dinner. My husband, along with other Grace volunteers, meets up with them weekly through the Whiz Kids tutoring program. Itís been almost four years since our lives intersected, and we continue to love the boys and their family like our own.

One of the things we love about Grace Church is their choice to partner with organizations like Safe Families and Shepherd Community Center. We have seen first-hand the vital role that these two ministry partners play in healing the six broken places. However, Grace has 40 ministry partners here in Indiana and around the world! These men and women are bringing the hope and healing of Jesus to people who desperately need it, and I realized that we didnít know much about them.

So, as a family, we are using the Lenten season to learn about and pray for these people and organizations. I cut up an old partner catalog, and each night at dinner we read about one of the ministries. Then we pray that God would strengthen them and use them to bring others to Himself. Itís not much, to be honest, but it reminds me that there is not only power in participation but also power in prayer. And as I reflect on the life and ministry of Jesus, I think he wanted us to have both.

If you havenít already, I would encourage you to look beyond what happens on Sunday mornings.† You can learn more about what Graceís partner ministries are doing and how to get involved here:†gracechurch.us/partners.†