Written by Elina (from Indonesia, in Singapore).
ST got me into your website and I read many articles with great interest. I wish there was this much dialog about “things that matter” in my Asian constituency. Many young people in Asia are busy building their careers, doing well at school, putting up an image and conforming to norms of society–to the point that it prevents them from speaking up and sharing things that really matter. Although, I’m not sure if this issue is specifically Asian …
However, in reading the articles, I don’t see a lot on prayer. Yes, prayer. It’s the one thing that Jesus did every single morning before he did anything else. The one thing that every great person in the Bible did throughout their journeys.
Some of us may think that just praying is not “practical” enough in this world of inequality and injustice.
I have been there, said that.
Or maybe because praying is seen as “too easy an action to do” for us, young people full of energy, willing to sacrifice our lives for a cause that really matters.
Been there, said that too.
But all the problems of the world, the things that bug us in our sleep and stir up our compassion, are too big for us to bear. And God knows this — that’s why God said, “Come to me, ye who are weary …”
In prayer, we surrender the things that we cannot solve into God’s hands, allowing God to work in our midst. On God’s terms and in God’s ways. We surrender the matter into THE hand that is bigger than all our thoughts and efforts combined.
Maybe it’s easier for me to say, being an Asian. I have been attacked by an army of evil spirits sent by people who hated me. I have seen my friend eat a box of intentionally poisoned lunch and not be harmed by it because before every meal he prayed that God would cleanse his food. I have a colleague whose autistic child got healed upon a year of prayer and refusing to take medication. I have seen an evil-possessed young man launched himself like an attacking tiger to a 60-year old lady who prayed for his deliverance, and saw him fell to the ground just a few inches before whacking her head … as if there was an invisible wall created by angels protecting her from harm.
And maybe it is easier for Asians to pray because … many of us simply don’t know what else to do. Many don’t have access to a doctor or even clean water, let alone mental illness experts. Is North American privilege and decadence working to diminish your faith?
And maybe it’s easy for me to say that prayer works, because it has worked throughout my life, without fail. I grew up with God continuously speaking to me in dreams, visions, Bible verses, prophecies and just by making strangers bump into me and say something out of the blue. I asked God for a partner, and God gave me a great husband. I dreamed of living in a community where the people come from all over the world, and I do live in a global melting pot now. My (then) fiancÃ© and I prayed that we would own a home before our wedding day, despite a cash crunch that year, and we now live in the apartment that we dreamed of getting.
So this is just a little poke and encouragement from halfway across the world. Our great God desires for us to speak to Him in prayer so He can show His ways to us. I am not saying just pray and do nothing, but let’s combine the supernatural power of prayer and the natural power of compassion and will.
And you will see your energy not going to waste. And that’s a promise, not from me but from God.
Happy Anniversary ïŠ
Thanks for your post. I think your connection between prayer and privilege is a challenging one, especially for those of us living in North America. I know that I’ve often experienced more passionate and active prayer lives in less privileged communities.
I’ve also recognized many times that my privilege insulates me from “the need” to pray. For me, it is a choice, not a necessity.
It’s been good for me to join a congregation in which many people have first hand experiences of the power of prayer to redeem them from very destructive lifestyles. It’s a lot different from the highly educated upper middle class church I grew up in. I find myself continually challenged to more prayer.
Elina, I think you offer a realistic critique of us Western Christians. I don’t think that it is simply Asian youth that only deal with the material world, alas those of us in the West are often superficial and materialistic– not just striving after “stuff” but also denying the reality of the spirit world in practice.
The writer of Ephesians noted that we, as Christians, do not need to practice warfare on the human realm, because we do so on the spiritual realm. In II Corinthians Paul also said that we do not use worldly weapons, but weapons of the Spirit.
But modern Anabaptists seem to be neglecting both.
I have a Mennonite pastor friend who says that if it were not for God’s power and God’s kingdom, then the pacifist stance is idiotic. I agree. I think that the world can only be changed by some kind of power, and we are neglecting our duty as people aware of the injustices of this world if we do not pray.
This is why I am so pleased with the Micah Challenge. Their first (but not only) action against worldwide poverty is prayer. They understand that prayer is our first line of attack against injustice.
After being challenged by a businesswoman in Bangladesh, me and my family right now are praying for God’s justice and blessing on every Muslim country in the world, one by one. After this, we will be praying for the poorest nations in the world. It is only if we– and everyone else who knows these issues– pray that God will take action. And only if God takes action will things change.
Because humanity, on its own, has really screwed things up.