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Friday, 19 June 2015
Sometimes prayer gets very practical
Rahul* had been part of a violent gang in Mumbai in India. He'd taken part in shootings and wound up in jail. It could have been the end of his hope. But Christians had started to pray for this vast city and, stirred by God, decided to get involved in bringing hope and vocational skills to prisoners. Now Rahul is out of prison, is happily married, has found a purpose for his life and helps look after street kids.
Sometimes prayer gets very big
My friend Arthur Thangiah tells me that when a hundred Christians gathered to pray in 2003 about how to help transform Mumbai their first thoughts were that this was 'pie in the sky, it's beyond us'. Mumbai is a city where 60% of people live in slums, that's about 13 million people. It's a huge challenge.
Gradually, however, more and more people have caught this vision. Since the first prayer in 2003 the group has set aside 3 days every year to pray for the city. Now more than 1,500 local churches/ house churches are connected through social media to regularly pray for and serve the people of Mumbai. Churches now help people in 5 prisons and about 15 organisations have sprung up to work among women who have been trafficked. This looks to me like a mustard seed growing (Matthew 13v31).
Sometimes we need to be broken
At the heart of this prayer movement lie 5 principles. It all starts with Christians seeking a close relationship with Jesus. This leads to brokenness as we turn from all in our lives that blocks our relationship with God. From this flows unity, community and finally transformation. Are you and I up for such a journey?
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
The memory of Adan's face doesn't leave me. Nor does the awfulness of where he lives. I've decided that I will pray for Adan and his town of Huanani every week for the next 6 months. I know you haven't met him but I wonder if you are willing to join me?
Here's his story from my time in Bolivia three months ago:
Adan is two years old with big brown eyes. He’s gentle, smiley and ill. His intestines don’t work properly and the town doctor says there is no hope for him. As we visit his small home his mother’s eyes fill with tears. Why is he sick? I don’t know but I do know that he lives in a town where you can glimpse hell and that might be why.
Huanani sits below vast spoil heaps from the local Bolivian tin mine, the largest
in South America. The river flows grey- black through the centre of town – it’s more effluent than water. You wouldn’t dare drink it. The air too is dangerous. Many people here die young from silicosis. We hear a siren, it means another miner has died. On average one miner here dies every week.
Given these risks the miners are afraid. They seek protection by making offerings to an idol before they enter the mine. Will the idol protect them? The idol is of the devil.
So what hope is there for Adan and his family? Their hope lies in God and his people.
Belania church has already been trying to change their town through volunteers like Amanda running a radio station 15 hours a day. Inspired by church and community transformation they also want to engage practically. It will take courage as Christians are under pressure for not worshipping the idol.
|Belania church friends|
The church now wants to do something for the young people to give them hope and save them from the drinking and marijuana that many turn to. They also want to start to address the pollution, beginning with collecting the rubbish that lies everywhere. Ephrain from Tearfund will be alongside them on this difficult journey. ‘I will give my 1,000%’, he says.
Together with Adan’s mother and their friends we pray for Adan that he will be completely healed. We wait to see what God will do. Will you pray too? Please pray for him, for this small church and that through his church God will help transform this town. Pray that, by God’s grace, it will begin to look more like heaven than hell.
If you would like to join me on this prayer journey it would really encourage me and Adan's family if you would let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org