Prayer is powerful. It is transformative. It is humbling. Prayer is also revealing. It is an action of opening up one’s heart and soul and pouring it out before God. One’s prayers will reveal what he or she is passionate about. You can learn a lot about people by hearing them bare all to their Savior and Sustainer. On Monday July 2nd we had the opportunity to spend time in prayer with the Pastors, TOTs and CHEs of Kiandutu, the rural slum of Thika. In groups we lifted up the different needs of that community: children’s ministry, men to return to the Church, widows and widowers, poverty, and sickness. As we prayed it just appeared to be another typical day of prayer. For those who don’t know Monday is the day of prayer and fasting for LIA and the churches they work with. We have participated in these before and, though we were in a new location, it seemed to be playing out as we had experienced before. How silly of us to expect anything typical of God. When the Holy Spirit moves it is rarely predictable or typical but it is always incredible. As we finished this time of prayer, Daniel, one of the LIA staff in Thika, went outside and picked up a handful of soil. He brought it before the pastors and asked them to pray prophetically over this soil to redeem it for the glory of God. He asked the pastors to beseech God and declare a new name for that community; Kiandutu means place of jiggers, a type of flea that burrows into one’s skin.
Therefore we began to pray; the pastors in the center praying over the soil, and the rest in a circle around the pastors. Not a quiet private prayer that is commonplace in many evangelical churches in America. For those who don’t know, corporate prayer in Kenya means everyone prays out loud at the same time, and so we did. To the outsider it may have appeared strange. Many people were shouting, some crying, and a couple bodily moving around; one pastor actually almost unknowingly hit Amy in the face. But this action was not for show; it was simply the overflow of their hearts. As I mentioned earlier, prayer is revealing. In those minutes of prayer the pastors revealed to me one of the most heartfelt displays of passion I have ever seen. Tears were shed because they were in pain for their community. Voices lifted and shouts were raised because they could not stand for their community to remain the same. Every word expressed love for their congregations. Each petition was a powerful display of passion. Even though the Amen may have finished the vocalized prayer, I am certain it is still continuing in the hearts of those pastors.
For me (Daniel) this experience was convicting. Having seen the passion of the pastors for their community I wondered, do I even have half of that amount of passion for my own community? Or have I become content with where my community is? Have I forgotten God’s transforming power and relinquished all hope for change? Do I truly love the people in my community or is it just something I say? Do you?
If so, pray that God will bring transformation; live passionately knowing that you pray to Him who is able to do more than you could ask or imagine. But if not, pray that God’s love and passion may fill your heart.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14