11 February 2008

Secret Believers: Praying With Rather Than For

I promise I'm almost done reflecting on this book. Once done, I will go back and finish up Economics in One Lesson. There were still a few chapters I never got to, and I don't want to miss out. Especially in an election year. If we learn to think economically, we will see the disaster that is Clinton, Obama, and McCain.

And Huckabee, in my opinion.

So there. I'm reviewing Secret Believers and I've already told you there is no one to vote for at all, which has nothing to do with this book.

What fun.

Anyhow, as I mentioned before, a lot of Brother Andrew's approach to the Problem With Islam was what I would consider typical: love your neighbor, do good to those who persecute you, etc. But there were a few things, like the morality issue, that stood out as either unique, or better articulated than I had ever heard before.

One of these was the idea that the persecuted church in Muslim countries has requested that we pray with them, rather than praying for them:
"Please pray with us. Many times I've told the church outside, 'Don't pray for us. Pray with us.' Can you see the difference? If you pray for me, you will pray for my safety and my prosperity. No, just pray with me for the Muslims to know Christ."
The interesting thing to me is that the latter will necessarily bring about the former. What I mean is, if the Muslims come to know Christ, the church there will no longer suffer persecution. It will prosper. It will be safe. It will thrive and it will grow.

To me, this was a profound thought. I think that, whenever I have prayed for the persecuted church or missionaries from our church that are struggling in difficult countries like Turkey, my prayer has always been for their safety, protection, prosperity. I forgot to pray for their work. For converts. And yet conversion is the real victory.

So I'll say it again, as a reminder to myself: pray with, not for.

5 comments:

  1. I agree with your assessment of Secret Believers. I actually enjoyed Part II as much (or more!) than Part I, which surprised me. I was afraid Part II would be a bland repetition of things I already know, but instead they really offered concrete ideas that make sense, but which I hadn't thought of in that context before. Of course the church needs to imitate Christ better! Of course we need better morality! Brilliant! =) I think they put their finger (and voice) on the root of the problem.

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  2. "Praying with" seems such a lovely and gracious attitude to take with anyone for (ooops - with whom) we might pray, isn't it?

    I've heard the same sentiment from Christians under persecution in China, too. They've said, "Don't pray for us to be delivered, pray with us for lives to be changed through the Gospel."

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  3. Kerry,
    I couldn't agree more! In fact, I think this book really changed my heart in that direction.

    We had an uncomfortable situation this weekend which I won't go into. In the past, I think my response would have been to either be angry, or to nurse my wounds and be "hurt" by it all. Instead, I found myself thinking the way this book encouraged: not taking it personally, but realizing that sometimes hurtful things that others do are revealing a heart that isn't in submission to the Lord. So I was able to feel sad and concerned for that person, and pray that God will bring them to Himself. It was really freeing to feel this way about the situation!

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  4. Great thoughts on praying for the persecuted church. Some things I had never considered before but make so much sense and would be the most biblical way to pray also.

    About the elections: what about Congressman Ron Paul? Are you familiar with his economic policy? Even though the California primaries are past I would strongly encourage you to research his positions on the issues. He is certainly not a RINO like McCain neither is he a neo-con, as Huckabee appears to be from my standpoint.

    Check out these sites:
    http://www.ronpaul.org/

    http://www.house.gov/paul/

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul-arch.html

    Well, I won't pester you with any more Ron Paul links, but you really should consider supporting him even if he isn't one of the top contenders. The way I see it, as Christians we will have to give direct account to God for our words and actions in this life (see Matt. 12:36-37) including our voting record. Voting for the lesser of two evils does not count, i.e. McCain vs. Hillary or Obama.

    As always, thanks for your informative, thoughtful blog posts. I enjoy them immensely. :)

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  5. Well, Lydia, I stand corrected! Yesterday, I was a bit jaded because I had read an article about Paul "scaling back" his campaign. It was written in such a way as to lead the reader to believe that Paul was in the process of pulling out, sort of how Romney "suspended" his campaign.

    I should have known better than to trust an AP article!

    Anyhow, today Paul released a YouTube video that said he will in fact go the distance, and I am pleased to hear it. My hope at this point is, if he doesn't get the nomination, perhaps he will cut up his party card and run for the Constitution Party. Do you know if there is a chance of this happening?

    Also, do you know if the Constitution Party will be putting forth a viable candidate this time around? The party isn't here in California (though they are loosely affiliated with California's American Independent Party), so it is harder for me to keep up.

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I absolutely adore hearing your thoughts, but...*please* remember to play nicely!