The Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia; which literally means “the love of strangers.” Our mission is to follow Christ’s example of love, invitation, and generosity, especially to those who are pushed to the margins. Jesus went looking for these forgotten and underserved people, intentionally bringing them back into relationship and community, for God’s glory. We seek to do the same.
However, it is not always easy to take those first steps of following Christ’s example to welcome the stranger. It requires us to bravely step out of our comfort zones to increase our proximity to immigrants. Thankfully, we are not taking these steps alone. We are relying on God to work in us and through us as we move intentionally toward hospitality and friendships with immigrants in our communities.
Let’s pray together today and ask God to guide us.
Father God, open our hearts to the opportunity to be welcoming. Help us see these opportunities as divine appointments. Align our hearts with yours and confront the selfish tendencies that keep us from serving and loving others.
Transform our minds. Remind us that each immigrant we encounter is a human being made in your image and deeply loved by you. We want to see them as you see them. Help us to be humble and curious learners.
Open our eyes as we go about our daily rhythms and show us immigrants in our area who could use a friendly face. Help us to see them in the grocery store, on walks around our neighborhood, at our kids’ schools, and at sports practices. Once we are aware of the immigrants in our communities, help us to see commonalities and ways to connect.
Attune our ears to your voice so we can follow where you lead. Bring awareness when we hear other languages or accents different from our own. Remove any judgment or preconceived notions as we listen to their stories and experiences so we can respond with love and kindness.
Guide our feet in the direction you want us to go. Help us take the steps necessary to move toward relationships with immigrants. Whether that means trying new immigrant-owned restaurants with the intention of getting to know the staff or choosing to worship with immigrant congregations, we are asking you to lead us.
Use our mouths to speak kindness, acceptance, and love as we begin to interact with immigrants. Help us to cultivate reciprocity. We want to extend invitations and also accept invitations. We want to ask questions but also share our own life experiences. As we learn more about their stories and struggles, help us to advocate on their behalf.
God is with you. Women of Welcome is here beside you, too!
How exciting that we get to join God and each other in taking these first steps! For more ideas on how to increase your proximity to immigrants, sign up to download this incredible resource here.