Ted Vail
Ted Vail

Let’s fill in the blanks from Matthew 25:35-36:

  • “I was a stranger and you ___________ me,”
  • “I was sick and you __________ me,”
  • “I was in prison and you __________ me” (ESV).

Take a moment and consider: What words/actions are being filled in these blanks today in society?

In our current storms, you are likely encountering people desperate for solutions and a fresh hunger to actually experience Jesus. Right here in the timeless words of Matthew 25, Jesus reveals that He is the “I” and the “me.” We experience Jesus in welcoming the stranger, in caring for the sick and by visiting those in prison.

These are defining moments and actions for us as followers of Jesus where we get to step up with courage and compassion, be the salt of the earth, and let our light shine!

As I endeavor to simply live in the blanks in this scripture, I discover that I’m not only reaching out to Jesus in those actions. At times, I am actually the stranger, the sick or the incarcerated. In those moments, Jesus reaches out to me, sometimes through you.

Prayer + Reflection

  1. Let’s pray: “Lord Jesus, we long to encounter and experience You! Give us fresh courage and compassion to give time and presence in our prayers to strangers, the sick and the incarcerated.”
  2. “Lord, we also come as the stranger, the sick, the incarcerated—please help us! Please send Your followers to us amid our isolation, brokenness, sickness and feeling marginalized. Thank You!”
  3. Pray for those who prepare to serve Jesus throughout the nations. Ask that He would use those who recently completed Foursquare Missions International (FMI) training as they are sent to bring God’s love to the nations.
  4. Pray for those who are marginalized in society, and around the world, because of their illness, incarceration or other-ness. Ask the Lord to move the hearts of all believers toward those who are easily overlooked, and for boldness to serve and be present to them, for His glory.
  5. During this pandemic, please pray for workers who cannot stay home—for those who provide our daily food, water, electricity, utilities, trash removal and other necessary functions. Ask the Lord to protect and keep them, and to bless them for their sacrifice during this time.


Foursquare minister and former first responder Jessie Cruickshank has a unique and helpful view on leading through a crisis over time, distinguishing between a lengthy crisis and sudden tragedy. Read about Jessie’s recommended strategies, the importance of timing, and tips on remaining present and engaged when fatigue sets in.

Read “Leading your church in a prolonged crisis.”

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the senior vice president of global operations for The Foursquare Church.

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