As Christians, we should never show partiality. Just as we reach out to ordinary people and even the rich, we should also do the same toward the poor. There should not be any special treatment for the ordinary people, the influential, and the rich. Regardless of their status in life, we treat all of them the same—fairly. That is why, just as we pray for other people, we also pray for the homeless people we see on our streets. If there are certain groups of people that a Christian should interact with from time to time, it should be the poor and the homeless. Even in the ministry of Jesus, we have seen Him ministering, interacting, and spending time with the poor. He spent time and ministered to people cast out by society, like the beggars and the lepers. Christ commanded us to love our neighbors. Part of loving our neighbors is also loving our homeless neighbors on the streets.
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
What does God say about the homeless?
God is a just God. Throughout the Bible, we can see His heart for the oppressed poor people. In the Old Testament, we can see God’s commands to help the poor, and some warn about oppressing them and the curses or punishment that are upon those who do that. While human governments miss out on the well-being of the poor and homeless, God does not, because He is a just God.
35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.
He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
Another thing that we can see in the Bible about the homeless is that God’s heart is for the poor; He chose them to be heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love him. That does not mean that all poor and homeless people are saved. There is only one way to salvation, and that is through faith in Christ alone, by grace alone. There is only one name in which a person can be saved, which is the name of Jesus. The Bible tells us that God has made His kingdom available to the poor as well. Suppose you have observed the biography of Jesus through the Gospels. Jesus did reach out and minister to both the rich and the poor people who were beggars, lepers, etc. Some of the rich people that Jesus ministered to are the rich young man and Lazarus, a tax collector. However, the rich young man didn’t follow Christ because he could never let go of his riches and give them to the poor. In other words, he couldn’t give up his idols and humble and submit himself to Christ. Lazarus, on the other hand, humbled himself and followed Christ. Jesus said that it is difficult for rich people to enter His kingdom because of their wealth. It is not surprising if the majority of the people that follow Christ are poor, homeless, and even just common ordinary people. It is because they can’t cling to anyone but Christ. Despite the hardships in life, only in Christ can they find eternal life and hope. They have seen Christ and the joy and peace that He gives, which enables them to be joyful, always rejoicing, and giving thanks. The Holy Spirit opened their eyes to the kind of riches they can only find in Christ, those far greater riches than any riches in this temporary world. That is why even if a person is homeless, he or she has everything if he or she has Christ.
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
How do you pray for the poor and needy?
As you reach out to help the poor or the homeless, one of the things that you can do is pray for them. If you see a homeless person sitting on the side of a street and you see a food stall or store nearby, you can buy some food and eat with the homeless person. You can approach the homeless person and ask him or her about the background of their life. You can even ask them about what happened and why they ended up being homeless. After listening to the homeless person, you can minister to him or her and pray for them. You can pray for the things that they mentioned when you were talking with them. For example, suppose the homeless person is a war veteran who cannot work because of an injury during his service. Maybe no one would hire him because he cannot use his military skill sets in the job he was applying for. You can pray for the homeless veteran regarding that aspect. You can pray for God’s grace upon him that He would comfort the homeless veteran after all the rejections he has gone through, even the pain of being thrown out and neglected after years of serving his country. In other words, pray regarding the homeless person’s stories he shared with you. It may be something regarding his or her family, a feeling of hopelessness, and many other situations. These are broken people that we should minister to.
Another thing you can do as your pray for the homeless person is pray according to God’s will. For that to happen, we have to have a renewed mind. Only when we have a renewed mind can we know and discern God’s will, know what is good and acceptable to Him, and pray those things to God. Having a renewed mind is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. However, we also have to always read and meditate on God’s word. We know God’s will by reading the Scriptures. If we have a renewed mind and pray with a renewed mind, we can pray for things like the homeless person receiving grace from God, comfort for all the things that he or she went through, grace to stand up on their feet again and start looking for work, etc. Most of all, pray that they will get to repent and believe the Gospel of Christ because it is not money or a house that they ultimately need, but Christ in Whom they can find eternal life and riches. You pray for those things only if you know God’s will.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Going back to the example of praying for a neglected homeless veteran, below is an example of a prayer you can pray that addresses what the homeless person shared about his life and the things that are good and acceptable to God:
God of grace, You are the God Who sees all of our afflictions. I pray for [name of the person], that You would give him comfort and healing after everything that he has gone through. I pray that You would heal him from all his emotional pain. Give him favor in the sight of the employers with whom he will apply for a job so that he will be able to find a steady job that compensates him fairly. Give him the grace and the strength to never give up on finding work. I pray that the difference in skillsets shall never be an issue and that his employer would be willing to train him. Most of all, I pray that he will see and understand what Your Son Jesus Christ has done for him—that He died for the penalty of his sins so that in Him we may receive forgiveness, hope, and eternal life. Turn his heart of stone to a heart of flesh and open his spiritual eyes so that he may see Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As you have observed above, we directed the prayer to the Gospel. As mentioned a while ago, the essential thing that the homeless need is the Gospel. In directing the prayer to the Gospel in the end, we never forget that we have to preach the Gospel to others. Only in the preaching of the Gospel can a person believe and be saved.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
What scripture talks about helping the homeless?
Many verses in the Bible talk about helping the homeless. In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 15:11, God commanded His people to open their hands wide to the needy and the poor. Proverbs 19:17 tells us how being generous to the poor also lends to the LORD.
For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
The New Testament is also filled with verses that talk about helping the homeless. One is when Jesus told His disciples that they are to be the salt and light to the world. If we are to be the salt and light to the world, we are to be the salt and light to the poor. We become the salt and light to them by pointing them to the real light of the world, which is Christ. As salt does – makes food better and preserves it – we are to make things better for the homeless and preserve that which is good. There are many initiatives that a Christian or Christians can take. They can form an initiative that helps homeless people find jobs, provide food for the homeless, provide shelters for them, especially during the winter or when a storm is coming, and many more. It is important to note that you have to be wise when helping the homeless. For those who can work, you want to help them so that they can stand up on their own feet and not rely on aid all the days of their lives.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
As followers of Christ, we should never forget the poor and the homeless. If Christ went out of His way to reach out and help the poor, then we should also. We cannot just preach the Gospel alone; we should also demonstrate the Gospel through the love that we show them by helping them out.
Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Father in heaven, Your heart is for the fatherless, widowed, and the poor. I pray that You would give me the grace to be compassionate and generous toward the poor and that I shall never forget them. Give me the grace to show mercy to them and connect with them just as I connect with well-off people. Give me the boldness to preach Christ to them, accompanied by good works that help them. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As Christians, we desire to live for Christ and serve Him. Serving Christ is not only for the area of reaching out to our fellow workmates, classmates, friends, or family. It also involves going out of our way to reach out and help the poor, who are often neglected or cast out by society. If Christ reached out to outcasts, so should we because, at first, we were all outcasts in the sight of God, but we were redeemed by Christ.