Prayer in the Context of Homelessness

Today we pray for those among us who seek shelter every day.
Home is gone for them, for many reasons;
they are fleeing violence, or they couldn’t pay the rent,
sometimes it was addiction or mental illness.
So now they wander, seeking shelter.
Some live in their vehicles, holding on to some possessions.
Others have left it all behind, and with a bag or two 
go to shelters for a meal or a bed, taking their children with them.
Others sleep rough, under bridges, or in the bushes around the city.
Hear our prayer for those who fall under the wheels of our economy.
They live without healthcare, without safety, without long-term plans.
They sit on park benches, push shopping carts
or avoid the cold in stairwells or subway cars.
People of no address, they slip through social safety nets.
But you never lose track of them, God.
They are precious and loved in your sight.
From those with homes, take away smugness and superiority,
and every hero complex of wanting to rescue those
who are judged and objectified into “the homeless”.
God of miracles, can you change this “us and them”?
Can we call each other by name;  Jason, Bethany, Emma, Rick, Carol?
As your children, can we meet and hear stories?
Instead of only a handout, can we both give time to sit together, 
to lament what is lost and to acknowledge resourcefulness?
Give wisdom to politicians who make decisions
about affordable housing and welfare.
For those who are seeking shelter, give courage and stamina.
When hope is hard to find, help them find it.
We give thanks for safety, for friends, for community on the way.
Jesus, you too had nowhere to lay you head,
you are with us this night, and every night. Amen.

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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