Mum n I headed 2 visit pryr friends. m having blssd time c u soon.” Kania signed off on our chat, leaving me to marvel that her mother was visiting her at all. Should I be nervous that Mum was on her way to meet her new Christian friends--our prayer group in fact? Only two years earlier it would've been unthinkable that Kania herself would even step foot in a Christian meeting. How much could we expect Mum to absorb on a vacation?
But the marvels were only beginning. Because I didn’t know yet that on their travels Mum would worship in an Adventist church. That she would venture to pray herself--and God would respond impressively. That she would be excited to learn about vegetarian dishes, home remedies, and a personal, responsive God. I didn’t know that before their travels were over Mum would declare that she was going back home to share everything she had learned.
When there is so much to marvel about, it's easy to forget how it all began. Simply. In much prayer.
One Sabbath almost two years ago our after-potluck discussion took a new turn. Every one of us admitted that our best efforts to reachout and witness had been so feeble, even ineffective. We wanted to do bold things for God, but we seemed to have little to work with. What would open doors? How could we make more of a difference for Him? Who did He want us to meet?
That Sabbath, as the sun was setting, we made the decision to commit to meet each week for specific, united prayer. We had each carried a burden privately. But what were we doing together that would allow God to do more? We decided to come to God as one, and plead for Him to do what we could not do on our own. We would ask together for our eyes to see opportunities we might otherwise miss. We would become a group committed to engage those who were ready to meet Jesus.
These were not routine prayer meetings. These were serious seasons of prayer where we brought our helplessness to the Lord, where we shared the burdens we felt for new friends, where we asked for specific opportunities and unusual needs. We prayed for ourselves, for others, for His glory. And we thanked Him for drawing us into His activity!
Reyna, one of our group, was particularly burdened as to who she could reach for the Lord. She had been in our host country for some time with very few contacts. We prayed for her for weeks. She felt at a loss. She wanted to make a difference.
Soon after, her assignment changed and she found herself befriending two young college girls—a German studying in our host country and a Muslim who claimed to be an atheist.
The three met together several times. Reyna invited Kania to our weekly prayer group. She didn’t seem interested; why would a Muslim want to go to a Christian meeting? But one day Kania found herself at my home comparing our shared interest in dentistry. My old, raggedy Bible was laying on the side table next to where she was sitting. She picked it up and began leafing through it.
As if she knew I had seen her, she explained. “When I was little I used to watch movies about our prophets. Some of them are in the Bible, you know.” She paused thoughtfully. “I’ve always wanted to read the Bible.” I promised I knew where I could get one in her mother tongue.
The next Friday evening, to our surprise, Kania showed up to our study. Since I had her new Bible ready, we presented it to her. I noticed how eagerly she accepted it. As we situated ourselves comfortably around the room for our regular prayer time, though, I wondered if our informal, conversational prayer time would be awkward, or even offensive, to her.
But suddenly, after only a few others had prayed, I heard a familiar voice. Kania was praying. No, she wasn't just praying. She was pouring her heart out in praise to God. Was she just copying us? Had she ever talked so openly with God before? Or was the Holy Spirit engaging her? Then at each point of our group prayer, she spoke even more openly. From praise to forgiveness to requests to thanksgiving. I was moved by how natural she spoke to God. She talked to Him like she was talking to me. And that was the beginning of Kania’s fellowship with us.
She attended faithfully. She completed her semester of studies. She needed a place to live and I had an extra room. So she moved into a world of Christian friends, worship, fellowship, Bible study, and prayer.
We began talking about her life, her relationships. We read the Bible together. We prayed together. She became a full participant in our weekly prayer group, pleading with God for souls, for the Holy Spirit, for personal victory. She saw the miracles God gave us. She saw the miracles God gave her.
So did her family. Her parents, who believe in supernatural powers, were baffled, “What have you done special for Allah, that he would give you such favors?”
One day, after watching her grow and learn, I had the honor of being with her when she prayed, “God, I open my hands to you. I will do whatever You want. I will take any major, follow any career, go anywhere. Just please tell me this week what You want me to do.”
He did, and she followed. And now, as I think of the prayer journey we've been on together, I realize God has exceeded our requests. Kania has introduced her mother to a loving, responsive, personal God; God has made Himself known! Kania is growing even more confident in her love for Jesus; she is in a Christian setting, preparing for a life of service. Yes, she is doing more than living God's answer to our united prayer. She has joined her prayers with ours and we're all stronger. --MM