My friend Jim

I bumped into Jim (not his real name) a few weeks ago when I was riding my bike through Vanier. I consider Jim a friend, but I had lost touch with him and hadn’t talked with him in a couple of years, so I was delighted to see him again. He was waiting for the bus, and we chatted for a few minutes until his bus came.

My encounter with Jim was an answer to prayer. Jim doesn’t have a phone, he doesn’t use the Internet, and I didn’t know where he was living, so I had no way of getting in touch with him. I hadn’t even been thinking about Jim, but I had been asking the Lord for insight into a vision that had been stirring in my heart for some time now, and I realized in hindsight that seeing Jim at the bus stop was part of God’s answer to my question.

You see, Marion and I have been sensing for a while now that God is calling us to birth a House of Prayer in Vanier.

This raises many questions. Why a House of Prayer? Why Vanier? And, why on earth would God choose us for a task like this? Aren’t there other people out there – people who are better qualified, more gifted, more capable, younger and more energetic – people who could do a better job?

When I think about how to answer these questions, Jim comes to mind. My encounter with him at the bus stop was no accident. I had been seeking God for insight as to what a House of Prayer would look like, and God showed me Jim.

Jim is a wonderful, warm, generous, simple, kind, loveable man. He is also an addict who has spent most of his adult life in and out of prison. Although Jesus has changed his life in major ways, Jim has spent so many years in prison that he finds it a challenge to manage life on the outside. He has done some things and made some choices that have harmed himself and others, but he has a sincere love for Jesus, and I consider him a brother and a friend.

In some ways Jim is his own worst enemy. Because of some of the things he has experienced, Jim has a hard time remembering that Jesus loves him. As a result, he has a hard time staying clean. He also has a hard time staying out of jail.

Some would be quick to say that Jim’s problems are the result of his own poor choices. At one level that is very true, and Jim wouldn’t deny it. But Jim has also had a lot of strikes against him. What’s more, I’ve heard him cry out to God for deliverance. Even though he sometimes continues to make poor choices, deep down Jim has a genuine desire to get clean and stay clean, to get free and stay free. He just has a hard time walking it out.

Jim needs a House of Prayer. He needs a safe place where he can come and spend as much time as he wants in the presence of the Lord. He has found that in the presence of the Lord there is healing for his soul.

It is written that when Jesus entered Jerusalem just prior to the Passover, the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. This was not only an act of compassion, but a powerful prophetic statement. A blind or lame man could not serve as a priest according to the law of Moses, because his imperfection disqualified him from coming through the veil into the presence of the Lord to offer the sacred bread. By healing the blind and the lame in the temple, Jesus was saying that from now on, because of his blood that was about to be shed on the cross, the way was open for broken, disqualified people to come into the presence of the Lord, to be forgiven, cleansed, healed, restored, equipped, and qualified to serve him as priests – people who can carry the presence and blessing of God to others.

Jim is not the only broken, disqualified person who lives in Vanier. I live here too. Like Jim, I have many defects. Like Jim, my life has been changed because Jesus has come into my world and made a way for me to come into the Father’s house. Like Jim, I belong to Jesus and he is my identity and my destiny. Like Jim, I still have a long way to go.

Why a House of Prayer in Vanier? There are at least two people in Vanier who need one.  Jim does.  So do I.


4 thoughts on “My friend Jim”

  1. Hi Peter,

    Greetings and blessing to your household, in Jesus’ name, Amen. Thank you for the post. It is thought provoking and sharpening. As I read your words, I could not stop thinking and triying to create a mental image of the throne room, of our Father, in heaven.

    A place where we can enter into, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, have fellowship and worship. A house of prayer is, I guess, the closest earthly holly place we can enter into and connect with heaven’s throne room of prayer and felloship and worship.

    Your companionship and friendship with Jim is praise worthy. Jim, you and ALL of us need to be in the house of prayer. I pray that the good Lord guides and help you and Marion to keep the divine idea of a house of prayer alive.

    Believe me Peter, you and Marion do not want to backout and risk having Jonah’s ship wreck experience, as he attempted to avoid going to Ninevsh. -:)

  2. What a lovely thing to read first thing on Saturday morning. Blessings to all – and of course will prayer for the House of Prayer.

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