Friday, June 20, 2014

"How exactly do you pray to God?"

"How exactly do you pray to God? I've been praying 5 times a day as a Muslim, but how do you actually pray to the real God?"

This was the question asked of me last week Saturday by a beautiful lady who had just a week or two prior, converted from Islam to Christianity.

A missionary here in Dar who works at HOPAC had befriended this lovely lady and had been praying for her for over a year. Recently, the conversation turned into a conversion. And then an invitation to attend our latest "Ladies Tea" that our church hosted.

Our church hosts a ladies tea every 3-4 months. It's a 3-4 hour long event where we get to leave the kids home and enjoy time with just ladies. We push for eveyone to invite a friend, especially if that friend might not feel comfortable coming to church. We hope that it's a safe place for ladies in all walks of life and faith to come and share in community.

This past Saturday, my friend Angie and I were in charge of the tea. When we began praying together about it, it was quite clear that God's Grace was to be the theme of the morning. Angie has such a heart for women, and a passion for sharing God's grace. I have been drawn to her since meeting her because she is a humble, faithful, passionate follower of Jesus who loves others deeply. I have already learned so much from her just by spending time with her, and her gifts have been a huge asset to the life of our church (and to me, personally!). It was clear that she had much to share with the ladies, so she graciously agreed to be our speaker.
2 Corinthians 12: 9 & 10
 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

On Saturday we ate together and had time to welcome guests and chat for a bit. We then moved into a time or worship that I had the priviledge of leading. Angie then shared about the above passage and did a fantastic job. We broke into small groups to share with one another and also did an activity that really demonstrated God's grace. We were all given a rock. As we shared with one another what we found to be our areas of weakness, struggle, hardship or difficulties, we wrote them on the rock. We then went walked out to the ocean (the house we were at is right on the beach - it's lovely!) and spent a few minutes in prayer before throwing our rock into the ocean. Now, this was NOT an activity to 'throw away' your weaknesses, but Angie reminded us that God's grace and love are bigger than the ocean, and we were merely throwing our rock into God's immense grace, because it's big enough to cover our weaknesses. What a beautiful picture!
As I stood on the beach, this lovely woman, who had been in my small group, came up to me and asked the above question.
We talked about the freedom we can live in as followers and lovers of Jesus. She already knew about the Lord's Prayer, and I shared with her how Jesus wants a relationship with her, not just a prayer of obligation. It was a fantastic conversation, and it was clear her heart longed to know more.
After everyone wrapped up their groups, we headed inside where we did a small craft. We took journals and covered them with old scraps of fabric, making designs or simply covering them. The idea was that these old pieces of throw-away fabric could be turned into something beautiful and useful, much like God's power being made perfect in our weakness.
Towards the end of our time together, one woman commented, "I wish this was a whole weekend thing!". It's obvious there is a desire for women to connect and share life together, and it's an honor to be a part of how God is doing that work in our church.
Please say a prayer for this woman today, as she learns more and more what it means to follow Jesus and walk in His ways!

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