At least it seems like it did. Praying. But sometimes, ok, most of the time, it becomes so much bigger.
About a week ago we attended Sunday night church at our church – First Baptist Irving. It was a Silent Service, shhhh.
The theme was the persecuted church. We had a number of college students from many countries speak either the testimony of a family member or another person from that country and their story of persecution. It was a time of awe. Really. When we arrived we watched slides speak statistics of persecutions in many countries.
We saw pictures, so rather disturbing. But really, should it not be disturbing? I mean, people are being murdered, violently tortured, and here I sit in my warm living room, on a soft couch, typing on my wireless laptop, I mean really.
Did I mention that we did not have air or heat on? Oh, and no chairs. I am spoiled. Horribly so. I used to be young, I am not any longer. Sitting indian style (or crisscross apple sauce style) for 45 minutes was not fun at all. Not even really tolerable for me. The heat thing, that was no problem, there were lots of people in this small area. But the lack of fresh air – well that was uncomfortable too.
As I fidgeted to get comfortable I thought about Robert’s grandmother sitting there with us, and how if I was that uncomfortable how would she feel? And yet, in many, MANY, countries that is what church looks like for all ages. And you know the saddest part? They are thrilled to be there, delighted to fellowship, and joyful at the opportunity to praise our God.
It was humbling for me. It was exciting for my young children. My eldest has said he wants to be a missionary for some time now. I keep expecting him to change his mind, but not yet. Even after seeing videos, hearing testimonies, tonight he prayed that he could not wait to get to China to preach the gospel to the people. He knows people are killed there for that. And the emotion in his voice was, again, humbling.
That is the country they chose when we broke into smaller groups for a time of prayer. They all wanted China. I was thinking North Korea, but God obviously was drawing these young hearts to pray for China. S0 we sat. We prayed. Then there were cards, offering cards to offer, to commit to pray. You could pray monthly, weekly or daily. Both my boys (the older 2) grabbed a card and quickly filled in their names and without asking for guidance checked daily.
Not when you think about it. Not when it works for you.
They signed their cards. They were thrilled. They want to be prayer warriors for persecuted China.
So, we have colored maps of China. They hang by their beds.
They handed out bracelets, those plastic ones with a message typed in. These are 2 bracelets linked together, light and dark grey. They say bound with them. They asked us not to take one unless we are really going to pray. The kids think they look like handcuffs, and they thought that was funny. I think they do too. But not so funny. I think about the many preaching the gospel who have worn handcuffs just because.
They marked our bracelets too, inside, with a color, to show how we were being persecuted. A symbol. Some died. Some tortured. The kids being kids joked with each other afterwards asking each other what their color was.
But they are kids, they can only understand this on a certain level. But you know what, they understand far more than I did before Sunday night.
It became real. It became intimate. It became my family, my brothers and sisters, dying for my Savoir.
So it started simple. But every day our prayers get deeper, they get more and more real, they get more and more complex.
As we pray, I only imagine the intervention going on in Heaven, how the pleas of my young children are going to the throne of Heaven on behalf of people they may never meet. I can only imagine the spiritual battle my children are participating in for these precious brothers and sisters in China. And humbly, I am proud of the hearts of my young brood, as we stand in the gap for so many persecuted people.
Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.