Monday, May 24, 2010

My brother told me to blog more...

and so this is for him. He tried to bait me with something about Joel Osteen, but I'm sick of being frustrated by his type.

I'm realizing I don't really truly know anything about prayer. Which means I really truly don't understand God.

I find myself getting frustrated, overwhelmed, and helpless as I survey the world. I'm discovering these massive problems (like Pakistan) and nothing I can physically do is really going to make a difference.

I'm exhorting, begging people to pray - cause that's the only thing we really can do - and yet I have to fight myself. Part of me feels like that won't accomplish anything. I want to actually make a difference, solve the problem, do anything. And yet, for all practical purposes, my hands are tied. So I suggest we pray as a last resort.

Could my thinking be more backward?

I serve the God of the universe, who invites me to enter into conversation with Him, to petition Him to move in the earth and I'm told He will! Yet coming to Him more often than not is my last course of action, instead of the first thing my heart knows to do.

No wonder I don't know God.

God calls us to so much more - to really know Him, to walk in step with the Spirit, to pray continually. If I really understood what it meant to be in constant conversation with the most powerful and loving being in the universe, how could I not pray continually?

I have so much to learn. Lord, teach me how to pray.

Pakistan Part Two

I wrote this for our church newsletter:

For Christians in Pakistan, the persecution has never been worse.

Globally, militant Islam has been on the rise for several decades, and this has been seen in Pakistan as well. However, tensions rose dramatically with 9/11 and the ensuing war in neighboring Afghanistan. From mosque to mosque and town to town came a cry of revenge: “For every Muslim killed in Afghanistan, kill two Christians in Pakistan.”

There is a very strong sense of brotherhood within Islam. If a Muslim anywhere in the world is offended, injured, or killed, or if Islam is treated with disrespect, Muslims all over the world will respond with protests and demands for justice. Though Christians profess a similar doctrine as a key tenet of our faith (I believe in the holy catholic [universal] church…), we often are not aware of the suffering our brothers and sisters in Christ are enduring, and we rarely respond to their persecution.

In Pakistan, Christians faithfully attend church services, not knowing if they will walk out unharmed. Christian villages and their residents have been burned. A harsh Islamic blasphemy law makes it illegal to even compare Mohammed, the Koran, or Allah to Christianity—much less actually share the gospel. Scores of Christians have been imprisoned or martyred on charges of blasphemy, which are often completely false. Pakistani Christians seeking asylum in the United States are often met with unsympathetic immigration judges who do not understand the reality of the death threats they have received from radical Islam.

The stories of many, many Pakistani Christians are too horrendous to share in this publication, but they are real. We must not turn a blind eye to those who suffer. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we have to support them, though we know nothing of the reality they face every day.

Pray for Pakistan. Pray when you learn of international news and politics. Pray for the Christian Pakistani community here in America as they try to intervene on behalf of endangered family and friends. Pray that God would protect strengthen, and encourage His people, especially those imprisoned and experiencing severe persecution. Pray that Christians would be faithful lights in the midst of great darkness and that God would draw many unto Himself. Pray that the strongholds of Islam would be broken and that God’s glory would be displayed in Pakistan and throughout the earth.