The other day as I began my prayer time, I felt directed towards Paul’s prayers in the Bible. I have often found myself awestruck at the magnificence of his prayers, so it wasn’t like God had to twist my arm to get me to spend some time praying from them. And I figure if God saw it good to record a man’s prayer in Scripture, it’s probably a prayer worth remembering. 🙂
Here are a couple pointers for praying Scripture effectively in a way where your heart connects with the living God:
1. Take your time. When I use Scripture as the basis for my prayers, I stop often. Sometimes I stop after just about every word. Sometimes I stop after a phrase. Sometimes I go through the whole thing a couple times. Don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy it. It’s God’s word, after all.
Today, I got a call from Jason that one of the Rromi families we had spoken to wanted a Bible. As I had a few Romanian New Testaments at the house, I told him I’d meet up with him in a few minutes. About an hour later, we met up and made our way towards the gypsy family.
This particular family is living on a patch of vacant land between a massive Cora (a “hipermarket” like a Super Walmart) and Plaza România (a massive mall). I say “family” when talking about the group of gypsies, but I really have no idea who’s related to whom, who’s child is whose, etc. Every time we’ve visited, there have been a different collection of people inside the flimsy wooden structure they call a home. The structure itself has been moved the last two times we visited. The kids and adults are all filthy but full of smiles and happy to visit with us whenever we come by.
Today was special because we were delivering a Bible for a woman who requested one for her husband who is in prison. When we arrived at the home, we delivered the Bible to the happy woman.
Everyone in ministry knows that we often have ulterior motives to loving. Ultimately, we want to help people get right with God. When I was working in Spring Green, if a student called me looking to get a ride home, I would often do so in the hopes that my service would help him to see Jesus better. I worked in the schools not so much because I love teaching but because I wanted opportunities to speak to students I wouldn’t normally get to speak with. If I planned a big party, it wasn’t because I love parties (I’m an introvert by all accounts) but because I wanted opportunities to identify with students and speak to them about Jesus. Even airsofting, as much as I loved it, was always the means to an end: an opportunity to witness and to be an example so that a student would one day repent and live for Jesus.
We often have ulterior motives. In the ministry, our ulterior motives are good. (Seriously, what better goal can there be that someone would come to know Jesus?)
But we’re called to love simply to love.
Jason, a Canadian missionary to Romania, introduced me to the music of Jonathan and Melissa Helser a couple weeks ago. I have to say that at first it didn’t really grab me. But now that I’ve downloaded and actually listened to “On the Shores” and “Long Story Short,” I’m overwhelmed.
Probably not the most appropriate picture, but it’s darn funny if you ask me. 🙂
So, today we headed to Ferentari once again to do some street evangelism. Although we spent about 3 hours out there, we only ended up talking to 5 different people.
The first was an older woman who was taking care of her young grandchildren. She told us how their parents were in jail or just plain gone. Although we shared the gospel with her, I think the biggest thing was simply sitting with her, hearing her story, and praying God’s blessing over her household.
The second group were two men outside a little corner store smoking cigarettes and drinking beers. We hadn’t even planned to talk with them, but they up and asked us, “What are you doing here?” So we told them how we were out there talking with people about Jesus. Although one of the men seemed unconcerned about spiritual things, the other (Ioan) seemed to share some concern. He was especially receptive after we shared what we sensed was a word for him from God. He knew he was running from God and needed to wake up to him; pray that he would do so.
Man, I love this song! Tonight at our staff meeting, we spent some extended time in worship and prayer. It was so refreshing!
This song was especially hitting home tonight:
Today, headed out to Ferentari for some street evangelism. Our four-person team was truly international, featuring two from the United States (Jake and I), one from Great Britain (Jacob, in the middle), and another from Canada (Jason, on the left) who can speak Romanian. Samuel (Romanian) and Sorin (Gypsy) had hoped to join us but couldn’t make it today.
To give you some background, Ferentari is Bucuresti’s poorest neighborhood. It is also the most notorious for crime, and it’s the home for many Rroma (Gypsy) people and so largely avoided by Romanians. When I asked the Bucuresti police if there were any areas they hated to work, they told me unanimously that it was Ferentari. Unofficial statistics I heard were that 3 women disappear every night in Ferentari and are sold into the sex trade. That statistic seems high, but I don’t know. We learned that last year a pile of dead children was found in the neighborhood. Every one of them had his lungs ripped out, probably to be sold on the black market. In a dark city, this is the darkest place (other than, perhaps, the political areas), and so we headed there to bring some light.