Every Monday night our outreach team talks with Christopher. He’s always sleeping in the same doorway. Christopher is fifty years old but looks much older. His addiction has cost him everything. His wife left him, and he has lost touch with his two teenage kids. He is always friendly, and profusely thanks us for the hand warmers and socks. It’s always awkward talking to him in his doorway. It feels like my coworkers and I are tucking in him for the night.
Christopher seems to be more troubled lately. Tonight, he is writhing around in his sleeping bag, contorting his body in terrible pain. My coworker Ben asks if there is anything we can pray about. Christopher asks for peace and happiness. It feels more serious then peace and happiness, like he is on the edge of death, like he is giving up trying to live.
I sit down next to him and we talk about the first time we met. It was in the park; some kids had stolen his glasses while he was asleep. He didn’t want me to take him to the free eye clinic even though he couldn’t see. We laugh and I ask him again if there is anything we can pray about. Our eyes are locked, and he bursts into tears. Through painful sobs of remorse and shame he asks for prayer for his kids, for his ex-wife. He is laying in his sleeping bag and we hold hands. I pray for reconciliation and forgiveness, that nothing is impossible with God. At one point he squeezes my hand, affirming that the prayer is accurate and true. My prayer ends, “in Jesus’ name.” Christopher hugs me, crying hysterically. “I love you guys, keep up the good work!” We encourage him, tuck him in, and say goodnight. Have a goodnight sleep, Christopher. We pray that you live to see another day. “Awake, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14).