It’s a great question posed in West View Baptist Church today. We were led by the Guinea BMS Action Team supported musically by Jonny. (PS He passed his driving test this week so the title of this blog is apt!).
Our theme today was around prayer, From my own experience prayer is a powerful tool, but we don’t always get an immediate answer or the answer we want. When challenged about unanswered prayer on the street I often say that we need to know that with God there are at least three possible answers, yes, no and hold on…I’ve got a better idea.
The team shared with us that we need to commit to praying every day and God will answer. Prayers were answered both at home and in Guinea for the team and those around them. Safety was a known issue when they went to Guinea . The team never prayed themselves for safety. They subsequently realised that all of the folks at home were praying for their safety. They never felt threatened or at risk. Prayer works. God fully covered them at all times. The continuous prayers make a difference . Pray and pray again was their message.
The team got the children in church to move from one end of the church to the other standing on a sheet of paper each to keep them safe from lava. After we lost a few to the lava flow, they got the idea that they all needed to stand on a sheet of paper and pass another sheet or prayer provided by the action team down the line. By working together they all got safely out of the lava flow. This exercise with the sheets demonstrates us praying together as a team. Sharing problems is like asking for prayers for each other and for others. God answered all those prayers prayed together. The extra prayer in the exercise enabled the team to move forward. The prayer from home enables BMS people to move forward.
Eleanor then read from the NLT James 5:7-19
James outlines the importance of patience in prayer. Eleanor learnt patience the hard way in Guinea, thrust into a classroom with no common language with 80 2 year olds, trying to sort them out three days a week. She admitted to clock watching initially , but learnt patience, and began to work well with the kids. The real test was to be patient for God, 3 weeks of strikes meant the school had to close. The team would walk 4 km to school each day praying and get there to only have to turn back. Frustrating, and a hot tired dusty journey. In those 3 weeks of alll the missionaries in Guinea, all the staff in Didcot were praying , all their supporters were praying. And their prayers paid off as the strikes came to an end.
Prayer is more than struggling. James covers 3 points
He shows that it is not just powerful prayer is but also how to pray. Praying regularly and repeatedly. The team’s first answered prayer was that the strikes were suspended. But then the strikes seemed to start up again and the team might not have got to say goodbye and finish the English course they were holding.
Anoint one another during sickness . If we are powerfully praying then we should be praying for the return of Jesus we should be anointing each other
Elianne was the french teacher for the girls, she was very busy. She taught children in the morning, then taught the girls , then went home to cook food for the family then run discipleship courses. Despite her busyness she would say Jesus is coming. Just as the girls were expecting an end to the strikes , she is expecting Jesus to return. She models the prayer of a righteous person being powerful and effective. Some examples of answered prayer for the team in Guinea, water tank overflowed after prayer, a new night guard brought water from his well. Even travelling to the airport the tyres of the vehicle were on wheels that could not have been removed if got puncture. No punctures happened either way.
Eleanor urged us all to form prayer groups to pray together. She shared the example of someone from another church . The brother in law of Chris , Jim hada bleed on brain. Jim was rushed for surgery whilst people were prating for him and is now fully recovered and back home . Do we need to pray more? Do we need to pray together. Eleanor asked us how many go to west view weekly prayer group? Do we pray before Filling Station? We should if we can.
This certainly hit a chord for me. As a Town Pastor I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with a regular in the night economy for over two years now. I’ve prayed that he finds the answers and that he comes to realise that, far from being the atheist he professes to be, he is questioning and seeking answers. I didn’t seem to be making any progress yet my last contact with him two weeks ago apparently gave him sleepless nights. I had left him with the thought that if I was wrong about God, then I’ve simply spent my life doing nice things with a group of friends and having something to do on a Sunday. However, I said if you’re wrong…. and then just left it there.
Apparently this gave him sleepless nights and a need to know more, He’s jealous of people with faith, terrified of the certainty that I shared with him as did the others on the team. Bizarrely as a self confessed atheist he wears a set of rosary or prayer beads and indeed when pressed cannot remember a time when he did not wear a cross of some description. I left him with a simple message, pray about it and then decide. Put down the cross as something he does not believe in or alternatively embrace the cross and everything the cross stands for. No prizes for guessing which outcome I’m praying for. Join me and pray that the way is made clear for this troubled young man.