WORLDVIEW: Glimpsing the world through God's eyes
RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--"M" used to beat his wife and curse Christianity -- not to mention handling dirty work for the Turkish Mafia.
Then he met Jesus personally. His life changed so radically that his nephew, "U," recently approached another Christian believer in Turkey and asked, "Can you explain to me what happened to my uncle? He's a totally different man!"
The believer gladly explained what had changed "M" into a peaceful, joyful man. "U" wanted what "M" now has.
"I met with 'U' again yesterday," the Christian reported. "He said that he and his wife had been watching the 'JESUS' film almost every other day for the past couple of weeks. He said, 'I understand now. I'm ready to believe.' Right there and then 'U' received Jesus as Lord, God and Savior. He committed to follow Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord! Pray for 'U' to grow in his new life. Pray for his wife also to come to faith."
This exciting news came right to my e-mail inbox -- along with other key prayer requests and answers from all over the world.
The source: "Today's Prayer," a quick daily briefing with lots of short -- but very strategic -- dispatches sent to the International Mission Board's prayer office by Southern Baptist workers in every corner of the globe. You can have it sent to your inbox, too. Visit http://imb.org/compassionnet to sign up for the free, daily e-mail, or use the website itself to access up-to-date prayer needs sorted by country, people group, city, ministry and other categories.
It's like glimpsing the lives of people all over the world -- through God's eyes. Some glimpses from recent days:
-- The pastor of a church in Russia considers Sept. 12 the day God's grace was poured out on him. On that day, the pastor, who is a former drug addict, was ordained as spiritual leader of the church and became the proud father of an 8-pound baby boy -- all within a few hours. Pray that God will bless the pastor and his wife, and that the small congregation that meets in the basement of a public building will grow.
-- "G" a 19-year-old Namibian woman, has no job or hope of one. She lives in a desert community so small it's hard to call it a town. She spends her days caring for younger siblings. Many Sundays she attends a church for non-whites; across the main highway sits a church for whites. She still lives in a world of division and empty religion. But after hearing the Gospel, she accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Now she has the hope of glory. Pray that "G" will grow in the faith and that the Lord will reach her mostly untouched people group in Namibia.
-- Thank God that 1,385 people heard the Gospel and eight accepted the Lord during a recent Bible distribution project in Egypt. "B," who was working on the project, was riding the train and had several Bibles with him. The train moved suddenly and a Bible fell out of his bag onto the floor. A young man saw it and asked if he could have a Bible. "B" gave him one and started talking to him about the life of Jesus and the Gospel. By the time they arrived at their destination, the young man had accepted the Lord.
-- Participants in a recent leadership seminar in Asia came to faith in Jesus. Now they face persecution. When one man's family and village learned of his decision, they beat him and vowed to set him on fire unless he renounced Jesus. He boldly stood up and said he was willing to die for his new faith. His attackers called out people in the village to witness his death. As the villagers surrounded him, he gave testimony to the living Christ. When village elders heard his testimony, they thought he must be crazy and prevented the men from killing him. Thank God for intervening and saving his life. Pray that God's name will be glorified by this man's faith.
-- Praise God that Christians of all ages are serving in China, seeking to make Christ known. Sharing his testimony at a recent gathering, one Christian worker humorously introduced himself by saying, "My wife and I combined are 129 years old!" Then he told of spiritual victory and continued commitment to the task. Seated around him were recent college graduates, middle-aged professionals, moms with young children, singles of all ages, empty-nest parents -- all desiring more than anything to see God glorified among the nations, and particularly throughout the peoples of China.
-- The Muslim evening call to prayer sounded clearly, but no one in the room rose to answer it. They already were deeply involved in worship. At that moment they were passing the bread -- a single slice of stale white bread in a cereal bowl. They prayed silently, then someone offered a prayer of thanksgiving in remembrance of how their Lord Jesus had broken His body that they might receive salvation and healing. This church is just one of many house churches meeting across South Asia. Pray that they will increase.
Several things strike me anew every time I read "Today's Prayer": The world is much bigger than any of us can imagine. God is bigger still. He cares deeply about every soul on earth. He wants us to care, too -- and to pray.
"Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession" (Psalm 2:8).