Tuesday, September 12

Tattooed Saints

I am without words for how refreshing it has been to be with both the 24-7 Prayer community, and here at IHOP.

I'll turn instead to tattoos.

Tonight I went with a ministry team of ordinary people into inner-city Kansas City. We left from the IHOP parking lot, prayed we'd bring with us God's love and compassion, and packed in loads of food to hand out to those who have little. We arrived in a park that is known for being dismal after dark. I sat down and talked with one man, named Santos, who had about four tattoos on each of his arms.

"Tell me the stories of your tattoos," I said.

Santos went on to tell me, through his beautiful toothless smile, that he'd seen the inside of a maximum-security prison for many years. He'd been a drug-smuggler from South America and made ridiculous amounts of money each day. He had many regrets. But Santos never did any dope, or even drink much booze. His primary vice? 3 packs of cigarettes a day. He’d been hopelessly addicted.

Somewhere along the line, Santos got out of prison, and found Jesus. He rejoiced with me of his most recent victory: God had given him the power to quit smoking, cold-turkey. He talked more about his job, his life, and we prayed together for all of his nine kids to find Jesus.

I was so humbled to hear this man’s story. I felt absolutely safe sitting in the middle of this crowd with an ex-con, hearing the stories of his not-so-glorious tattoos. He had a peace about him that was other worldly.

Before we left I dreamt with Santos that he’d see far more of God’s supernatural power, beyond the power he’d given to quit smoking. I don’t know if that’s prophecy or what. All I know is that I want to dream more for people, in that way. And I want to take time to listen to more people’s stories. Especially the ones that the world calls “poor.”

Picture taken from Sacred Ink

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