What my first 2 weeks at Street Connect have taught me

My name is Lauryn, I’m a Community Education student at UWS, on placement at Street Connect for the next few months. I’m a Christian – committed my life to Christ in my early teens and recommitted when I was 17 – and found Street Connect through a church friend. I like working with people, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I come from what I would call a ‘youth-worky’ background, so heading into work with Street Connect, I expected something new to me. And that’s proven itself to be true, in more ways than one.

I told Julie at the end of my first week that what stood out to me the most about Street Connect is the way they implement their Christian ethos; because it was shown in such a way that I hadn’t seen before. My first day here, staff training flowed into a worship time. And prayer time is a set part of the day-to-day. I loved it, I was excited about it, but I never wanted to pray out-loud during these prayer times.

I knew, when I came to Street Connect, that I’d really need to work out being present with people – I had been going through a time of being very ‘in my head’ and I knew that that wasn’t something I wanted to carry in with me. So when it came to prayer times, that’s what I would pray about; only what I needed.  I figured, in those moments, that my personal prayers had no business being shared with the rest of the room – God could hear me, why did anybody else need to? And that’s how it went for the next week and a half; I would stay silent during prayer times, just thinking and praying in my head. Some days, I wouldn’t be praying a personal prayer. Instead, I would stay silent and tell myself that I didn’t know Street Connect well enough to offer any kind of “relevant” prayer.

My second Thursday at the Paisley drop-in, I attended prayer time at 9.30. Every worker and volunteer prayed blessings over the building and the work and the service users, then one volunteer prayed for himself, asking that God would help him through his day and the following week -  a personal prayer. Like the ones I’d been praying in my head, thinking it was wrong to pray them out-loud.

I was challenged in that moment, when his prayer was met with ‘amen’s and mumbles of agreement. All the reasons I’d been giving myself not to pray out loud seemed to lose all legitimacy that I thought they had.

The next morning, at the Possilpark drop-in, I prayed out loud for the first time I had since starting at Street Connect. I prayed that God would help me be present, which led me to thanking Him for giving me the opportunity to do so by leading me Street Connect. Was it a light-beam, heavens-open moment? No. But it was a moment of realisation, when those around me met my prayer with ‘amen’s, I reconnected with the feeling of being joined together with people in prayer.

I can say, with honesty, I finally felt like a part of the team.  I think, all along, that’s what I was holding myself back from.

This experience got me thinking about Matt. 18:20 “Where one or two are gathered…”

And I believe now that being gathered doesn’t just mean being physically present, but being engaged, being a part of what’s going on, joining together with your team in prayer and believing for the same thing, even if that crosses into your personal needs. 

I look back now over the last couple weeks and realise that this was something I knew, but needed to be reminded of. And not only has it influenced my approach  to prayer times, but also my approach to people, my desire to be more present and connected – which has, in turn, crossed into my personal life and the way I treat my family, friends and new people I meet (some of which are shown above at our Possilpark drop-in).

Amongst the opportunities to learn and see new things, this was a pretty cool thing to learn (or remember) in my first couple weeks here, and I can’t wait to see what else my time here has to offer me. Here’s to being present!