for the last year and a half, my job has been to read mail for a radio ministry that is 100% listener supported. we receive donations, orders for ministry resources, letters with questions and the occasional used and chewed up lollipop stick (yes, this really did happen during my first week there). and it all gets funneled through me. which means i also read all of the prayer requests that people write. and as part of my job, i read the requests, rewrite these prayers in a prayer book, and move on to the next piece of mail.
it struck me today that given the amount of need i've seen in the last year and a half, i should be more compassionate.
of all the letters we've received from people opening their hurting hearts and their wounded souls, i should feel more. the brokenness of marriages and families, the battles against disease and cancer and other sicknesses, the need for jobs and financial provision, the struggles with mental disorders, and the hope for healing, restoration and renewal that come from these hurts. the desires to know Jesus more and to find direction in God's will. the request that we just simply pray for them.
but these prayers come on paper. they are written words, with no faces or voices or emotional expressions to attach to them. in essence, with nothing to make them personal. but they are real heart cries.
i need to take something away from this whole experience. i want to learn and be shaped. i desire to come away different.
everyone has a story. everyone suffers. everyone has a prayer. we're not so different.
open my heart with compassion.