Mike Gore, CEO of Open Doors Australia shares three of the most powerful images from 2017, and the incredible stories behind them. Here’s story three!
They are Muslim and they are seeking Jesus.
On a trip to the Syrian border in Lebanon I learnt more about prayer from Muslims than you could ever imagine.
The convicting reality that Muslims have a greater expectation that Jesus will answer their prayer than I do, is something I will never forget.
They pray with an expectation unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The first church service here is full of Muslim converts.
The second… veiled women seeking Jesus.
The pastor begins the service by asking whose prayer from last week did Jesus answer? hands go up, testimony after testimony, the service finishes with the pastor asking the women their prayer requests for the coming week, because, not only do they have them ready to share, but they wake up with an expectation that Jesus will have heard, and answered their prayer.
And even in those times where He may not answer them overnight they continue to pray day, after day, after day with an expectation that He will respond.
It’s the moment I realised, I can’t remember what I prayed for yesterday, let alone last week – and more than that, what have I ever consistently prayed for with an expectation so great, it drove me to look for the answer?
I’ve learnt that Jesus hears our prayers, but doesn’t necessarily answer them overnight. That sometimes we’re called to pray more than once for something. That to ask without expectation is an insult to God. That trust filled respect in God should drive us to look for the answer. I’ve learnt that prayer is more than asking for the things I want. It’s trusting him for the things I need. And that prayer, is indisputably an act of worship.
It’s on the Syrian border in refugee camps that this is happening.
These people are Syrian. They are Muslim, and they are seeking Jesus.
Many of them have been displaced for five years and when it comes to prayer, they’re not asking for shiny new things.
They’re asking that Jesus would make himself real to them in their moment of need. They’re asking for things like food, shelter, warmth, education and safety for their children.
And time and time again, Jesus is answering their prayer and more often than not He does so by moving the heart of the local church. Courageously obedient and unquestionably the hands and feet of Christ to those living as refugees in their community, sharing Jesus in a way that doesn’t compromise the gospel but brings it to life and offers them salvation.
Isn’t it funny? How something so simple can become so complex. It’s as though the moment Jesus answers our prayers, and reveals himself to Muslims all over the world, we question the process.
We love the end stories of conversion but their journey to salvation, it makes us feel uncomfortable even awkward. I’ve learnt from people still searching for Christ, that expectation filled prayer brings the gospel to life.
How’s your prayer life? Because mine was in desperate need of change.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.