Sunday, August 23, 2015

Praying Has Changed Me

When God told me to pray for the lost for an hour a day, I didn't question it. I just started doing it. Day after day, I made time to pray for at least one hour ONLY for the lost. As an intercessor, God began opening my eyes up to more and more things regarding the lost. It is strange how God can open your eyes to so much, through prayer. The Lord led me to pray for things I never thought of! With this prayer time, I came to know God's sorrows much more. I did not pray out of a ritualistic mindset. That's religious. That's empty. I prayed because I love Jesus. I want to obey God. I want to bring joy to His heart and lessen, in some way, His sorrow. I'm in a relationship with God. So, I pray because I love Him and trust Him and also because I love the lost.

The more I prayed about the lost, the more God began to show me how lazy the church is (In America). As the church, we should be showing the love of God, testifying of Jesus Christ by action and word so that we may reach the lost. But in America, we take our great right of religious freedom for granted. We rarely operate in TRUE faith. The harvest is so ripe but who's willing to do the work? We end up being witnesses of our capitalistic nation. We don't see how bad it is. I pray God will remove the blinders over our eyes so that we see the truth about our conduct, example, behavior and many teachings that are WRONG. 

After 53 days of praying for the lost, the Lord told me to start praying for the church (Christians) for an hour a day. I'm into the 20th day of praying for 'the' Church. God continues to show me these wrong areas in my life that I had not known existed. As I see these areas, I begin to pray for others who do not see areas. As God shows me things about myself, I am able to pray that God shows other Christians such things.

I've been brought to a place of transformation. God has given me a passion for the lost that is insatiable. God is showing me that in all my years of praying and studying the Word, how little I know. He is showing me that in America, because of our wealth and our rights, we are fat, lethargic, ungrateful, spoiled and we TRULY RARELY OPERATE IN FAITH. What does that mean?

The amount of faith required to get a good parking spot at work or money to buy a new outfit is small. Let me move on further. The amount of faith it takes to pray for healing for loved ones and the sick is a little greater but it is still asks little of the one praying. In America, we have such comfort that most of us find ourselves living a life that exercises the smallest amounts of faith; that require little sacrifice.. I'm not discounting prayers for such things. I'm simply trying to help others see what God has helped me see. Let me expound.

I had a very painful experience with a loved one last week. I actually let it get the best of me. My faith weakened. I prayed less. I reveled in my anger and became distant from God. God was very gracious to me. He brought into my life a woman in Pakistan. Shazia messaged me on Facebook late one night with a sweet blessing. We began messaging. I learned about the persecution and poverty she and other women and girls endure in Pakistan. My heart began to melt. She sweetly and humbly shared stories and asked for me to help. One story she shared was about a girl who was poisoned by her parents because Shazia gave her a bible. Soon, my struggles paled in comparison. Her request for my help was humbling for me. In my personal life, I was being negative, unforgiving and angry. But my loved one wasn't dead. I began to cry. God began to break away the stones I put around my heart. I asked Shazia what she needed prayer for. When she said, 'food', I was even more humbled.

God has given me a heart for Pakistan. I am praying for Shazia, her home and sewing classes daily. God got my attention and I chose to pull it together and seek to restore my relationship with God.

I share this because a deeper transformation is happening from this point. I've researched the conditions that Christian women live in. I've researched much about Pakistan, as a nation. I've been brought into a world where faith is TRULY exercised. Sharing Jesus with others, as Shazia does, requires faith we rarely operate in here in the U.S. She literally puts her well being, even her life on the line daily just by sharing Jesus with others. 

I've been asked to teach the girls and women at Shazia's home (by way of Skype). As I start to pray about what to teach, a new world of concepts fill my mind. What do you teach to women and girls who experience abuse often because they believe in Jesus? I mean. . . when you live in a world where you experience beatings, sexual abuse and even death because you have faith in Jesus, it brings a challenge to this American Christian teacher that I've never experienced.

I live in a blessed nation. I'm so thankful I was born in America. But America has become complacent in most respects. A good portion of the sermons preached from America on television (about physical blessings) make no sense to those living in poverty and persecution for their faith. Literally, I've heard of people from several Asian countries share that the teachings on TV did not make sense. The reality is that there is the American gospel and then there is THE gospel. It is simply the truth. 

I have been floored. I have been brought to my knees as I enter this new world, the world of Pakistan. The nation that is listed as the 8th most Christian persecuted nation by the WWL. A nation that has imprisoned a Christian and plan to execute her because her declaration of her faith in Christ was counted as the crime of Blasphemy.

God is changing me. I can't sit in this little space in my comfortable American life where I do not endure persecution and be comfortable about it any longer. I can't take for granted my rights. I need to get up and take these wonderful opportunities to help those who do not have them!!! I have been transformed.

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