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This article originally appeared as a “What is a Sentinel?” podcast on JSH-Online.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a sentinel is. One of the big concepts I’ve come to embrace is that the sentinel is someone who is part of something greater than himself—someone who stands at the boundary or perimeter of that activity, ready to defend it against something that might interrupt it. For myself, I’ve identified this activity as being a kind of prayer sentinel—so I try to be at the boundary of my own thought, defending concepts that I’ve found helpful and that I think are beneficial to others. As a follower of Christ Jesus, the main concept that I’ve come to value is that God is good and is loving, so God’s creation must be loved and good as well. 

A number of years ago I was teaching in Malawi, Africa, in an area where traffic accidents were pretty common. My school was a couple of hundred feet from the main highway running north and south, and one day, a fellow teacher and I heard the unmistakable sound of tires screeching and then an impact. We immediately started walking toward the road. On the way there, I stopped and stepped off the path, just to pray. It was a prayer to acknowledge that God was present, and that God would guide me. I wanted to be able to help and contribute in whatever way I could. 

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