I was not prepared for the beautiful, powerful prayers of God’s people at Union Missionary Baptist Church. We went last night to cast a vision for what God is doing through Bible translation to bring his message of hope and redemption to Bibleless communities all over the world, but we left having caught a vision of the people of God rising up to pray for the Bibleless all over the world and for workers to be sent out. How warmly we were welcomed as advocates for the Bibleless!
Last night two prayers in particular messed me up, put me in shambles.
Pastor Gene read from the Cameroon entry in Operation World, the country in which we’re preparing to serve as Bible translators. But Gene read not from the latest edition of Operation World, which just came out at the end of last year, but from the previous edition. In the Cameroon entry in the previous edition the country’s suggested prayer needs include most urgently the need for Bible translators and Bible translations in order to combat spiritual poverty and nominal Christianity. Gene then pointed to Emily and me on the front pew and said, “Here’s an answer to this prayer request.” I’m an answer to prayer!? Hearing God’s people last night praise him for sending us out was too much for me. The prayers of God’s people messed me up…in a good way.
Secondly, in the picture above you’ll notice a large banner-like printout. This printout is a list of all the languages in the world that still do not have a Bible translation; there are over 2,000 all over the world! When fully rolled out, the list stretched from the pulpit all the way to the back of the sanctuary. Before we prayed God’s people gathered on either side of the list, picked it up and chose a language for which they would pray out loud. The prayer of one gentleman whose face I never saw absolutely messed me up. He held his portion of the list and prayed, “Lord, I had no idea. How many of us went through today without thinking one bit of any of this. I’m ashamed.”
He went on to offer a passionate plea for the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers. His prayer messed me up and continues to mess me up…in a good way.