The prayer pants: Ordinary deeds, extraordinary love

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The Apostle James says “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Well, one group of ladies is attacking hell through prayer and a few bolts of cloth.

Fifteen years ago, Therese Davern saw a need and knew she could help. The young son of a woman at her church had a physical disability that kept him from walking. He learned how to crawl however, and was wearing out the knees in his pants at an alarming rate. A self-taught seamstress, Therese made seven pairs of pants with reinforced knees. As she sewed, she prayed for the boy, and she called these creations “prayer pants.”

Two years ago, Therese had learned about the work of a local anti-trafficking group. And then she remembered the prayer pants. The group was assembling care bags for women and girls who’d been rescued out of sex trafficking situations. Therese noticed that there weren’t any clothes in the bags and wondered if she could help.

Along with several others, Therese formed the Prayer Pants Ministry at St. Peter Church in Monument, Colorado. The idea is simple: Women from the church sew colorful flannel lounge pants for human trafficking victims, praying over the women while they sew. When each pair is finished, the seamstress signs a card that includes a prayer of blessing for the victim.

The cards include these words, “May you be granted a time of tranquil rest, a time to bind your wounds and mend your heart’s tears, a time to renew your strength so you may once again spread your wings and soar.”

Just a handful of women do the actual sewing, but the Prayer Pants Ministry is drawing together people from all walks of life. One of the seamstresses is 96 years young, and recently, a high school student wanted to learn more so she could share the ministry with her classmates. Others donate gifts of material and money. In just over a year, they’ve sewed and prayed over 75 pairs of pants which have since been sent all over the country.

There’s something deeply meaningful in this that goes far beyond meeting a basic human need. As a local counselor familiar with the effort remarked, the ladies of St. Peter’s are “clothing” sexually exploited women—in contrast to the men who have “exposed” and used them. Where Satan would consume and destroy, these ladies are working to build up and restore. Their efforts are a true labor of love.

But the ladies behind the Prayer Pants Ministry haven’t stopped there. They are also working to create awareness about how sex trafficking takes place even in the small mountain town of Monument, Colorado.

They held a prayer and awareness weekend at their church to highlight the prevalence of trafficking in the community. Officers from the police and sheriff’s departments were present as well as representatives from the anti-trafficking group they partnered with.

In addition, the women have reached out to local businesses and truck stops, handing out cards featuring the national trafficking hotline number. And they continue to look for more ways to educate the public and those within their church. One of the women involved, Stephanie Kemp, said, “You fight evil wherever you can.”

I draw great hope from the ladies of the Prayer Pants Ministry. Human trafficking is both vastly global and disturbingly local. Most of us can’t be involved in breaking up criminal networks or do the intense recovery work with rescued victims.

But all of us have a place in pursuing justice for victims of horrific crimes.

I think Chuck Colson would have loved this effort. He had a passion to see average people—the little platoons—find their place in proclaiming the Kingdom of God. We don’t need to be extraordinary to help. Like the ladies of the Prayer Pants Ministry, we can simply be ordinary people motivated by love to do extraordinary things.

Eric Metaxas

 

— by Eric Metaxas

Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org). Copyright© 2014 Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission. BreakPoint is a ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

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