Prayer is Powerful . . . and Essential!

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Sai and I were so inspired by a talk at last night’s Perspectives class, by the gracious and wonderful Joanne Shetler (author of “And the Word Came with Power”).  She talked about her time in the Philippines, translating the Word of God into the language of the head-hunting Balangao people.  In her first five years there, only two people believed the Gospel.  No one in the family that had “adopted” her had believed.  Joanne was afraid her organization might cut her out of the budget because of such meager results (from a human perspective, that is).

About this time, on a trip home to visit her supporting churches, Joanne was honest about her frustration over the lack of response to the Gospel.  Thankfully, rather than questioning Joanne’s effectiveness, her supporters were perceptive enough to realize that the problem might have been a lack of prayer, for the right things.  So they began to pray in earnest for God to soften the hearts of the Balangao, and for Him to show that His power is greater than that of the spirits that the Balangao so feared and offered sacrifices to.  Joanne returned to Balangao to continue the translation work.

God heard and answered these prayers, in miraculous ways!  Joanne’s adoptive “father” soon believed, and became a leader and teacher to others.  The two spiritual medium ladies of the village saw God overcome the spirits that had so long tormented them.  This opened the door for many, many others to believe.

I believe God wants to do something like this among the rural Thai people, too.  Like the Balangao, the people of the northeast (Isaan) region of Thailand are fundamentally animistic, believing that spirits exist and have power to help them or hurt them.  Even Buddhist rituals, like the one pictured here, have animistic elements (the string is to protect against spirits).  Buddhist ceremony

This, of course, is absolutely TRUE!  There IS a spiritual world we can’t see, but that can interact with the natural world.  So the Thai people already believe some of what the Bible teaches.  What they have failed to understand — because no one has yet gone to tell them — is that there is a Creator God who actually created both the natural realm and the spiritual realm, and who holds absolute power over both.

This should be GOOD NEWS to the Thai people who, like the Balangao, are captive to the spirits they fear.  But they will never be set free unless someone GOES to them and TELLS THEM the good news, in a way they can understand!

So, we are praying — and asking you to join us in praying — that God will begin to soften the hearts of the people in Sai’s village of Ban Dong Phlong and surrounding areas, to be receptive to the GOOD NEWS that we hope to bring to them.

Pray that God will show us those things that the Thai people already believe that are in line with God’s Word.  This can often be a key to unlocking people’s understanding of the Gospel.

Pray that we can build good relationships with influential men in the village, and pray for God to draw their hearts toward Himself.

Pray for God’s protection over us and our daughters Amanda and Alicia.

We treasure all of you!  Prayer is without doubt the one ESSENTIAL thing we need.  Anything else we do will be useless if the prayer is not happening.  So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for your prayers!

Grace and peace to you, in Christ our Lord,

Don & Sai