Purpose Driven Prayer

Purpose Driven Prayer

Although people might not hear me often times scream out and shout God’s name at each and every given moment on my posts; since I’m not in the habit of craving for ecclesiastical attention… or it is perhaps because my wife is already a minister by profession, who holds a couple of masters degrees and a doctorate in the field.

However, do not think for one moment that I do not believe in prayer, since my work, former mental health profession career, my current Eco-psychology research studies, and everything else I do, learned, and studied, has a God-given purpose or is of God’s purposely driven vision toward the enhanced betterness of our global community.

I remember after sailing on my first ship and being back on the beach (waterfront term for unemployed sailors.) I was standing on the docks, broken and dreaming, wishing to hope and praying to myself. It was right at that given moment when a captain reached over the bow of his ship and yelled, “Could any of you gentlemen cook? Because if you could cook, you have a job!”

I was so hungry and desperate I almost raised my hand, which would have been a tremendous mistake. I instead walked away and continued to pray with the strongest faith in conviction one could ever muster. I remember, begging God that there may be doors opened where I might learn to cook while promising that if I ever learned, no one in my midst might ever go hungry.

One week later, arrived at the M\V Hawthorne Enterprise, and they needed a mess man. This provides me an opportunity not just to learn to cook, but rather to serve as an apprentice to 2 of the best-trained merchant marine chefs at the time. One who boasted credentials from the Royal Palace. Under their guidance, I studied and learned the craft via culinary school.

The best part of all was that although many of the Caribbean and Latin American poets traveled, there was tremendous poverty. I was blessed that these men always wanted to go ashore and look for the señoritas, this allow me to practice by cooking up lots of food and feeding dock workers and stevedores, who often time, came from deep within the countryside to unload our ship. Of course, they had no transportation and perhaps would’ve had to starve throughout that day. Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, and Puerto Limón we’re often times the worse.

Although I was sometimes threatened by the captain and chef with being fired for giving away company food, I still didn’t stop. I couldn’t it was as if I was being propelled. I’d practiced so much on my own that in less than 3 years I had been promoted and assigned my own ship.

Although I’d never worked as a cook on land, I Had been cooking for various volunteer programs, hosting entertaining friends, and most recently for our churches programs as a volunteer… created interfaith Thanksgiving dinners among our Jewish, Catholics, Buddhist, Muslim, Pentecostal, Mormons,  families in northern Manhattan at our church. 350 to 450 people at a clip to support Damaris’s ministries.

Using my own money, I also prepared smoke salmon, ribs, fresh corn on the cob, and other different meals that would become very expensive and out of reach for many in our congregation. Volunteers meals for homecoming and other special occasions.

On this particular Sunday, one of the ministers was being transferred and promoted to a sister church. She loved the way I smoked barbecue those ribs for them in the middle of the city among the high rise. So she requested. I was, like “much obliged.” Of course, her being very popular, much loved, and the ribs. It was a very hot Sunday in July and I went to work. About 360 people were counted that day. Ribs, chicken, rice, and beans in coconut and many other fixings were served.

I was both joyful and tired, sweating fanning standing by the entrance of the fellowship hall, watching everyone enjoy my God’s given blessings of talent when The Rev. John Vaughan passed me by, placed his hands on my shoulder, and said to me. “This is your ministry.” I responded with something to the fact as… ”oh, just a hobby.”

And it was that same night that I woke up out of a deep sleep to remember that that had been my prayer that God had indeed answered many, many years ago. As I prayed to God out of shared desperation, hunger, but deep faith, about some 45 years earlier. Granted I never finished my seaman career as a cook but went on to become a quartermaster, later studied radio operator, then navigation in order to become an officer, prior to switching careers at age 23.

Although my cooking skills and culinary abilities became very effective, as a psychiatric case manager for my patients in the state of Connecticut operated, community base initiative programs, not only in assisting or coaching with a meal planned preparations but rather during monthly meetings with their registered dietitians. Besides their having to stick to a tight budget, and since many of their systems were already compromised with cancers, diabetes, and other serious maladies, due to long-term usage of psychiatric medications.

Everything I asked God for in prayer, doors have been opened, as I learned to work hard and received. Nothing was given, but the opportunity to be creative enough, faithful enough, and patient enough to achieve, thus grateful enough to not squander, but rather to share with others, the blessings given!

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