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It fell of my wrist about six weeks ago. I was on vacation, absent-mindedly pulling the small silver heart along the twine, pushing it away from the knot where my husband had tied the tiny bracelet to my wrist, just like I had done many times over during the previous two months. And then, ever so slightly, with a pull of the twine the strand broke and the heart fell. I stood there for a moment, looking at the string in my hand and then bent low to find the heart. I held both pieces in my hand and remembered what the card had said that came with it, “When the bracelet naturally falls off one day you will know you’ve done your part.” So, I guess my part was done.

But I could not get rid of the little heart.

This small little bracelet I purchased from Mercy House had been a challenge for me. I was not just to pray for the project or the lives that it touched, but I was to pray each time I saw the bracelet or looked down upon the small silver heart. I was to pray for the young girls so far away, who do not get to stand in the middle of a living room on vacation idly pulling at a bracelet. I was to pray for these girls, forced into prostitution and running from a past life of horror and sorrow, facing the fear of forced abortions and hoping that Mercy House would be the safe haven they could turn to. A place they could have their child, care for their child, and come to know Jesus and His healing love, a place to get an education, learn a skill, and start a new life. Many of these girls are forced into prostitution to make money to feed their families; many of them are raped, abused, and are still just children themselves.

I had my husband tie the bracelet on and made a pact with myself to pray.

The first day was easy. I would pray hard, with intention, for these girls, stopping whatever I was doing at that moment and pray. I would pray for their protection, healing, health, love, provisions. I would pray for the staff, that they would get the supplies they needed to continue their project, for safety, for a continued heart filled with compassion that would not burn out.

The second day I realized just how often I looked down at my hands, how many times I saw this bracelet and how many times I was praying.  

Some of my prayers were not as long, some became just simple prayers asking for God’s blessings to pour out on those kindred sister souls so far away. But each day I prayed, I realized something.

No prayer is simple. It does not matter how short the prayer, the simplicity of the words used, or where you are when you pray. Each prayer is presented to the throne of God.

And He hears.

Sometimes I would look down at that bracelet and think, “Oh, I need to pray for these girls, again.” But I was intentional with my prayers, knowing who I was praying for and why.

Things began to change in my other prayers.

I began to have a clearer focus, to listen to God and hear what I was to pray about. Not just a normal routine kind of prayer that covered all my bases, but to really pray and commune with God.

To pray with intentionality. To pray with focus, with purpose. To pray for those girls far away facing challenges I will never know, never comprehend. To pray for my family, my husband and children, my friends, myself. My intent changed from fulfilling a duty to pray to having a desire to pray.

When the bracelet fell off, I know the card said I had done my part. But I could not just throw away this little silver heart, this heart that represented the change in my heart, the hearts of girls across the world, the heart of that ministry. So I slipped it into my pocket of my purse, to carry it with me. When I reach in my purse and feel it, I say a prayer for those girls. Sometimes they are called to my mind without seeing the heart and I pray. And I know that my part is never really done. As long as I have lips and words to speak a prayer, I will always have a part in that ministry. And I can do more. I can buy more bracelets or other items that these girls make to support them. Maybe I could even go to them one day and put my hands to work with their hands and laugh and cry with them and love them and love Jesus together.

I was to pray to help change the lives of these girls and they changed me. They gave me intention in my prayers. They reminded me of my need for focus and how we are to pray for one another. Not just for the people we like or love, but for the ones that challenge us, hurt us, annoy us, influence us, and the ones we have never even met.

A small bracelet that cost a small sum of $10 that taught me a huge lesson.

To have intent, purpose, in all that I do. Not just prayer, but actions and words too. Intent on how I spend my money, what I say to my children, how I act toward others. Intentionality to walk in love and be love for others.

When we have intentions that are focused and are rooted in truth, our whole world is changed.

Take a look at the story behind Mercy House, or find another cause that you can help. See what changes happen to you as a result of helping others. You will be blessed just as you have blessed them, guaranteed.