Thoughts on Prayer: Okay! Let’s Pray!
It is the turn of the century and I find myself in a place I have never been. It is as though I literally popped in. I am not familiar with the geography, culture, architecture, or fashion. I look to my right and left. The bend in the road prevents me from seeing too far into the distance in either direction. I am in a town built on a hill. The entrances to the buildings and homes are directly off the street. There are no sidewalks; just a gravelly sandy road. I can taste its grittiness in my mouth. My geographical reference point for sand is either the beach or the desert. But, this city with its flat-top roofs is built on sand. I search my mental files for a coastal locale to place this village. Nothing. Perhaps it is because the sand doesn’t taste salty, and the air doesn’t smell like the sea. As I become more aware of my surroundings, I notice a key component of any thriving community missing…people. As this new revelation begins to sink in, from out of nowhere I hear: “She’s here. Quick! Get her into these before they recognize her.” A loose-fitting article of clothing is pulled down over my head and liberally covers my Western attire of jeans and a t-shirt. My arms are pulled through the sleeves of a black dress/kaftan type garment. My head is adorned with something that also covers my face. There are holes in the headdress were my eyes are so I can see. Even in my stupor, the fact my “hosts” not only know me but are also expecting me, does not escape my attention. I am not afraid of them. I sense they are trying to protect me.
They lead me up the grainy hill-side road. The beads of moisture forming on my forehead cause me to consider how anyone could wear this garb on a daily basis in this climate. As we reach the hill-top, I notice a crowd. It is a mixture of men, women, and children. So this is where the town’s citizens are congregating. I am dressed just like the women. The men are dressed in long white shirts with white pants that narrow at the ankles. They have on funny hats. “Funny” in that I have never seen anything like them before. They look like a baseball cap sans bill. The crowd is quite; speechless actually. They are stunned but, it isn’t because of my presence. An event is taking place. I follow the horror filled gazes to the gallows. One by one people are being hanged. Somehow I know these are martyrs. Christ-followers. Heroes of the Christian faith. The men are “volunteering” to go first in hope the lives of the women and children will be spared. Their hope is unfulfilled.
My “hosts” whisk me away from the gallows. They cautiously but, briskly lead me into a building. One person barricades the door and brandishes a machine gun. Other artillery is at the ready, also. Masks and head coverings are removed. We are in a church. Instead of processing the barbarianism we just witnessed, the machine gun-toting person says, “Okay, let’s pray.”
Fifteen years into the 21st century, I now know I was in a Middle Eastern country. I not only witnessed the torturous death of my Christian Muslim brothers and sisters but, I had a prayer meeting with them as well.
I find the dream/vision of fifteen years earlier eerily, dare I say, prophetic. May we, as Christ-followers, discern the times and season we are in. May we understand anew the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). May we be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Daily let us put on the whole armor of God that we may be able to withstand the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but, against the rulers, against the authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places…. May we find ourselves praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Okay, let’s pray!