Every night at Project WARM we ask that the volunteers pray BEFORE the guests come in, pray before dinner and then read scripture and share a message before they leave. We thought we would share some thoughts about these three things as some volunteers have asked some great questions prayer and the message:
(There are no microphones – Don’t Worry)
Praying before the guests come in
We believe in the incredible power of prayer. Prayer allows us to connect with God in a meaningful way and he hears what is on our heart, our concerns, our gives us a quiet chance to hear from God about the evening. Before the guests come in at 8pm, gather the Project WARM staff and all of the volunteers in prayer. Here are some suggestions to pray before the guests come in:
· Pray for safety for the staff, volunteers and guests – some of these men come in spiritually bankrupt and some are inebriated.
· Pray for openness to hear the Word and for it to touch the guests in meaningful ways
· Give thanks for the opportunity to be there
· Ask for God to show you specific people to connect with
· Ask for God’s will to be done
Praying before the meal
Most of us do this already by giving thanks to God for the meal that he provides. Most of us are already comfortable giving a prayer before the meal and that is what we ask at Project WARM. Give thanks for the meal, for the men being able to come to the safety of Project WARM, and for the discussions of the evening.
Giving a message before you leave
This is the most rewarding time for the volunteers and guests to share God’s Word. We also get a lot of questions about this from the volunteers – What should I say, Why do we do this, I’m not comfortable doing this, What shouldn’t I say, What should I read, etc etc.
The reason we ask one of the volunteers to do this is because life is fragile. If a man dies on the street today and didn’t receive the Gospel and see it in action before he left our doors last night, we’ve have not served him well, nor loved him well. In 2012 we lost three men to their addictions – the life and death nature of this ministry is real.
Here are some suggestions in giving this message:
· You can do it – I am not a good speaker and didn’t think I could stand up in front of 20-30 guys with a message either. My voice cracks a little, I may be a bit nervous, but I did it and so can you. The guests actually enjoy hearing the messages and connecting with you. The great thing is I’ve never heard them judge a message and I’ve heard nothing but Thank You’s. YOU CAN DO IT IF I CAN!
· Pray before you go to be open to what God wants you to say – This is incredibly important as the message should come from God’s desires. Sometimes I have wanted to share my experience and my wisdom and found that those messages sometimes don’t connect. Our most meaningful messages have clearly been a “God Moment” where a verse sticks out and a thoughtful explanation given in complete love.
· Prepare a message, but be open to change as God directs. I remember I wanted to give a message on the Prodigal Son and had everything prepared and even a picture. I was going to read the message from a type written page I had created – it was going to be AWESOME. When I arrived I realized that the men really enjoyed the Bible study of John the previous morning and I felt that John 1:5 was really drawing me. I didn’t talk about the prodigal son, and instead just read John 1:5 and what it meant to me. It was infinitely better received that evening.
· Speak and share out of Love and not Judgment. Most of these men know about Jesus and have heard some scripture. Many of them have heard the condemnation and problems that they cause. We believe that God has called us to share Love through the messages that we give. Our God is a loving God and while he is disappointed with the choices we all make, he still loves us.
· You don’t have to talk for long – Someone asked if they had to give a long message. No, of course not. Some share a verse and what it means to them, some share a few verses and what those verses mean, some share testimonies of how God’s love transformed their lives. It doesn’t need to be long, it just needs to be long enough to show how much God loves these men.
· You don’t have to be eloquent. Some of the best messages I’ve heard at WARM were not from great speakers. Heartfelt messages from people who care are many times more empowering than prepared speeches.
· Make an invitation to the men to accept Christ. At the end of your message, either during your prayer or in an invitation after your message invite those men who would like to accept Christ in their lives to do just that. Ask them to repent of their sins, to accept that Jesus is their Lord, the Holy Spirit to fill them up, and to live a life pleasing to God. We have had a few men already this year accept Christ. We have seen lives change through this!
It doesn’t have to be long, eloquent, wordy or pretty – The guests will love it and so will God.