“Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior.” (Psalm 27:9 NIV)
David Kennedy is a pastor in Laurens, SC who fights life’s battles with prayer. His remarkable story is told in the movie Burden. In 1996, the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) opened a museum in town. Reverend Kennedy formed a peaceful protest, fueled by prayer. His example of putting God’s word into practice is one that will impact the rest of my life.
The movie centers around the life of Mike Burden, an orphan raised in the KKK. He was Grand Dragon, a high ranking position in the organization, when Reverend Kennedy met him. Burden helped open the museum. His loyalty to the KKK earned him the deed to the building.
Reverend Kennedy fought the KKK with love:
“The weapons we use to fight fear, they are not brutality. They are not wrath. They are not hate. They are and will always be, love.”
Prayer is an act of love.
Reverend Kennedy started his battle with prayer. He won his battle with prayer. In one of the most pivotal moments in the movie, he prays. All hope has been lost. The KKK looks like they are winning the fight. When his wife asks the reverend what he’s going to do, his answer was simple. “I’m going to pray.” God’s answer was one no one expected.
Burden had met a woman named Judy. Her influence on his life caused him to leave the KKK. When he left the organization, people closed their doors to him. He couldn’t get a job. They ended up homeless, living on the street, begging for food. When he asks the reverend for change to buy a meal, the pastor took the opportunity to love. Not only did he buy them a meal, he took them into his home. He gave them a place to stay until they could get back on their feet. The reverend saw Burden’s request as an answer to prayer. God gave him the opportunity to love.
Jesus tells us we are to love and pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44 NIV). God doesn’t answer the way we expect. He answers with an opportunity to act. If you pray for patience, God will give you an opportunity to practice patience. In the case of Reverend Kennedy, he had the opportunity to practice love. He had prayed for the people in the KKK. Now he had the opportunity to love one of them like Jesus. His answered prayer was the opportunity to love his enemy. Taking his cue from the Good Samaritan, he went above and beyond in his act of love.
Because Reverend Kennedy didn’t miss the opportunity to love, his church now owns the KKK museum. The Echo Project is now a rehab for hate. The church is currently raising money to turn the facility into a community and diversity center.
Prayer is an act of love. God answers with opportunities to love. Don’t miss the opportunity.
Question of the Day:
Who can you love through prayer today?
Further Reading: Ezra 1-2 NIV, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 NIV, Psalm 27:7-14 NIV, Proverbs 20:22-23 NIV