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The Privilege of Prayer

Written by Dawn Sites on

 

A glimpse of bright burgundy caught my eye as we drove through the crowded city surrounded by people, cars, motorcycles, pedestrians, people, people and more people. And did I mention animals? Especially cows walking as kings, reigning over the land. I did a double take. What did I just see? Yes, it was a woman sitting in the middle of a dung heap, making circular patties with her hands. The row of neatly stacked patties, drying in the oppressive heat, was evidence of the hours she must have worked in that very spot. Who is going to rescue her from this hard life? More importantly, who is going to share the gospel with her?

That was one encounter I had with an indescribably overwhelming land – India. I’ve seen the faces of some of the 1.3 billion people. No longer just a number to me, I’ve seen these people going about their days, most worshiping idols, who are gods who neither hear nor care for them. India is home to one of the largest unreached people groups, the Yadav. There are over 65,000,000 people in this group alone and we are praying that they would come to know the one true God who sees them, can answer their prayers and cares about their souls. But what is the point of prayer for those we can’t see and do not know?

From Genesis through Revelation, the Lord makes it clear that He is declaring His glory to the nations. He will be worshipped by people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. When we visit our friends in India and ask what we can do, EVERY single person in the ministry says, “Pray for us.” So, we strive to be faithful to God by honoring their request. Each month, as we ask for prayer requests from our ministry partners, we see God grow our friendships with our brothers and sisters in another land. Even more, however, the Lord has grown our friendship with Him.

One of the most memorable prayer requests was for a young pastor, a Yadav, in the Bihar region of India. He was moving to an unreached region where there were very few Christians. In January, a request came from the lead pastor that this young man would marry a Christian ministry-minded young woman by April. We prayed and the Lord in His kindness provided a Christian, ministry-minded young lady in April.Theirs was the first Christian wedding in this region. The gospel was proclaimed and the leader in the region was overwhelmed with joy.

Not only have we had the privilege to pray, we have also learned more about how to pray by praying with and for our partners. One humble leader stands out as a real prayer warrior. When our vision team visits his home in India, over the traditional chai tea, he and his wife share unbelievable Book of Acts-type stories of miracles and answers to prayer. In their ministry, they ride on the infamous trains in India. Elbow to elbow with fellow passengers and passing by thousands of people along their route, they “cast their prayers out from the train into the countryside.” They do the same thing in city traffic. This sounds like Psalm 126.

Another lasting memory comes from our first trip to India. A large worship service was interrupted by a man coming up to the worship leader. The worship leader stopped the music and told the congregation to pray. A pastor who was sent from the ministry had been taken from his church, falsely accused, beaten and put in jail. Immediately, everyone prayed, out loud, and at the same time. We were most surprised with what happened next: we continued on with the worship service. This informed us of two things. First, they believed in the power of prayer; and second, this was not the first time they had a brother persecuted for preaching the word. (Matthew 5:10-12, Hebrews 11:13-16 and I Peter 5:8-11)

It is said that prayer changes things, and indeed, prayer changes things by changing us. That is a good description of what has happened to us as we have learned more about praying for the nations. First Thessalonians 1 gives a description of how we have come to love those we have had the glorious privilege to pray for. “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dawn Sites

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