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How does this picture lead you to pray?

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."  —John 8:12

"You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden."  —Matthew 5:14

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.  Isaiah 9:2

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.  —John 1:5

Speaking about destiny

A long-term worker reflects on some things they have learned from working with Arabs in North Africa:

Most commonly-held misconceptions about Arabs stem from their descent from Ishmael, a rejected son of Abraham. That is why we often start a dialogue with them about what it means to be an Arab. We want to help them to understand what the Scriptures say about their identity. We know that Job, for instance, was an Arab; the Samaritan was probably an Arab; the Queen of Sheba was an Arab. Ishmael and Isaac stood together at their father’s death. There are prophetic purposes for the Arab people; one is their living amongst the Jews, not as enemies but as neighbours. Yet outside the Arab world we have failed to acknowledge that God has made promises to all of Abraham’s children. Do we only see the isolated radicalism, or can we see a beautiful destiny for them as well? Much of the negative factors spring from a sense of rejection.

You cannot survive in the Arab world for long just with love for the people. Rather, being aware of the prophetic purposes God has for them provides us a huge and solid motivation.

The supremacy of relationship
Among the creative approaches that resonate with Muslims is speaking of their destiny. We ask them, “Do you know your heritage?”  “Can you trace it Ishmael?”  Many simply have no idea. So we discuss this and begin to talk about their purpose, which the Qur’an also touches upon. The opening of the Qur’an (1:6), the shahada, says, “Show me my true path. Protect me from the liars and anything that would draw me away from the path. Help me to stay in the truth of my path.” It speaks not only of obedience to God’s law but suggests a relationship with God as well.

We also rely heavily on community approaches. When we read Scripture, we never do so alone but always bring a friend. This stays true to the culture of doing things with others.

Young people especially express this desire for relationship. Our friend Ahmed discovered that he was on his own path for truth. Like many today, he didn’t think that every law written in the beginning still applied today. But he wanted more: to know the wisdom of God for every decision he would have to make. Islam is a prayer culture, so we employed that as something relatively familiar. Ahmed would go to the mosque with his family, but every night he would lay on his bed and interact with God. He had no interest initially in Christianity, but God used his desire to know God to reveal himself to him. Ahmed wasn’t satisfied with the mosque and mere ritual when he could commune with God on his bed (as did David, Psalms 63:6). We encourage this face-to-face journey with God—to ask God for wisdom and revelation and visitation from Him. We coach them, but don’t interfere.

Staying honest
My greatest positive surprise has been to see the potential that Arabs have when they are empowered to realise their own destiny. Once they take ownership of their destiny, there are no limits to their fearlessness and commitment. They are willing to sacrifice everything for this high purpose. We teach about Joseph (mentioned also in the Qur’an) and the importance of dreaming in your life. This transforms them.

The most painful disappointment has been to realize my own ignorance toward God’s love and capability to do something different than what I can imagine. When He says “Ask me for the nations and I will give them to you,” He is serious. He is capable of bringing spiritual transformation to an entire nation.

It’s also disappointing to realize that when things get difficult or really risky, we expect the consequences of the cross to be mitigated or disappear. Suffering for Christ is an honour which Arabs understand and respect; they are ready to die for what they value. Jesus went to the cross not out of a desire to help mankind but to be obedient to His Father. I pray that we can reclaim this beauty of the cross in our lives.

I’m still waiting for fruit

A worker shares with us:

“You know, we’ve felt a shift take place in Morocco in the last year or so. More people are open to hear what we have to share. I feel like I am sharing the Gospel, and my testimony more often than I used to, and people are more eager to talk about the things I share. But, there are days when I feel a bit discouraged. I’ve been here for a few years now and I have seen none of my friends and contacts come to know Jesus. Some are quite interested, and I pray that God will bring them to the point of wanting to take that leap into His Kingdom. But its hard to go on, week in, week out, sharing and talking, but still have so little fruit. Sometimes I feel Satan try to bring discouragement and despair, telling me its not worth it all, and I should go home. Its hard to stand against that some days. I know God loves Morocco and He has a plan for this nation. I really believe a harvest will come, but I pray today that I will have the patience to wait for God’s timing, and to not give up. Can you pray this for me too?”

Let’s pray for this worker and many like them.

  1. Pray for encouragement
  2. Pray that God will strengthen them to keep going, keep sharing, keep sowing seeds and keep living in North Africa
  3. Pray that the Light of Jesus will shine through the lives and witness of the Christian workers in North Africa
  4. Pray for good health, provision and protection over workers
  5. Pray that God will give workers rest, fun, joy and abundant life as they serve Him in North Africa

Love Coming From His Eyes

At seven years old, Jonathan* was an unlikely evangelist. Skinny, sensitive, and unable to communicate well in the local language, Jonathan was constantly bullied by his classmates. His parents, workers in North Africa, had taught Jonathan not to fight back.

Lacking supervised recess and open play spaces, Jonathan’s local school offered limited resources for building friendships. When children were not in lessons, they had to go home. Concerned about Jonathan, his parents and their teammates prayed that the young boy would do well in his studies and that he would find a friend.

One day, when Jonathan’s mom, Marie*, arrived at the concrete courtyard to pick up her son, she saw him playing with Ibrahim*, another boy ridiculed by classmates. Drawn together by their common situation, Ibrahim and Jonathan quickly became friends.

“Mama, I love Jonathan because he has such love shining out of his eyes,” Ibrahim told his mother, Leila*.

Keen to develop the newly formed friendship, Leila arranged a play date at her home. Soon after, Marie and Jonathan visited Leila and Ibrahim, the two ladies drinking coffee while their sons played.

Reciprocating the hospitality, Marie invited Leila and Ibrahim for a second meeting. As the women chatted, Leila suddenly spoke up: “My son said Jonathan has love coming out of his eyes, but you do as well.”

“It’s because of Jesus,” Marie answered. Sensing Leila’s interest, Marie shared the Gospel.

“Are you telling me that God sent Jesus, and Jesus lived on earth, and Jesus died to save us all?” Leila asked. “Well, yes, I am telling you those things,” Marie responded. On and on the women talked, Leila repeating each Scripture verse and aspect of truth Marie shared. When the visit ended, Marie met with her team, praising the Lord for Jonathan’s new friend, and the opportunity to share God’s love with his mother.

Pray that Scripture will take root in Leila’s heart and that she will come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Pray that God will protect Leila and her family during Ramadan. May they not close their hearts to the Gospel.

Pray that even during Ramadan, they will continue to seek for the Truth about Jesus and may they find Him.

Pray that religious duty not cause this family to close their doors to the workers seeking to build friendships – but pray that the doors will open further.

*Names changed

Source: news.om.org

How does this picture lead you to pray?

How does this picture lead you to pray for North Africa?

Psalm 24
Of David. A psalm.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?

The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

Just a One-Liner

Moroccan Instrument

A worker stopped into a music store to ask whether they came to homes to tune pianos. After getting all the details of the services provided, the worker asked the price which was quite expensive. Thanking the shop assistant for the information, they turned to leave the shop and said, “Well its expensive, but Jesus has paid it all for me!”. By this time the worker was almost to the front door about to leave, when the shop assistant called out, “Wait, wait!  Come back.  What did you mean when you said Jesus paid it all?”  So they had a very encouraging spiritual discussion all about what Jesus has done for us.  How he died for each one of us. How He took on Himself all our sins, and mistakes, and wrong thoughts, and He took the punishment for all of it, so that God doesn’t have to punish us individually on that day of judgement.

“Have you ever read the Bible?”, the worker asked.  The shop assistant had not but wanted to, so a Bible was given and some passages pointed out as good places to start reading. Now the follow up begins.

How can we pray?

  1. Praise God that just a one-line sentence spoken by the worker brought about a very productive spiritual discussion
  2. Praise God for the shop assistant’s openness.  Ask that he may read the Bible, and want to study it together with others
  3. Ask that God would give workers one-line sentences like this one, to say throughout the day, in all different circumstances – just one-liners that catch the attention of spiritually interested North Africans
young women in north africa

How to be a Friend in North Africa

Source: Operation Mobilization

“God, what do you want me to tell her?” Anette prayed as she walked to meet Aziza. After nearly two years of living and working in North Africa, Anette kept busy juggling time with friends and work responsibilities.  One afternoon as Anette joined with colleagues to pray for their friends, Aziza came to mind.  It had been awhile since the two women had seen each other.  “I was wondering if I should give up the friendship,” Anette explained.

Annette first met Aziza at a sports class the previous year. Aziza was full of energy and personality. Like many in their early 20s, Aziza was interested in Western culture, music and practising her English. When both women realised they lived in the same neighborhood, they began to go to sports class together. Aziza was also friends with another worker, Caren. Together the three women began to spend time discussing life and eventually faith.  They even began reading the Bible. However, their times together became fewer and less frequent.

“She was interested in everything and nothing,” said Anette. It was difficult to see how interested she was in deeper conversations about life and faith. Two days after praying for Aziza, Anette received a SMS message from her: “I haven’t seen you for a long time. I would like to meet you.”

Aziza shared that she was feeling discouraged and a little depressed; she was excited to spend time together. Believing this sudden contact from Aziza was an answer to prayer, Anette asked God for wisdom.

“God, what do you want me to tell her?” Anette prayed on the way to meet Aziza. Psalm 23 was her answer.The afternoon passed quickly as they women shared about thelr lives, and all too soon they were on their way back home. Frustrated that there had been no clear opportunity to share the verses, Anette boldly asked to read something before leaving. They sat together on a nearby bench, and Anette read Psalm 23. Anette explained that God walks beside us in the good times and in the challenging times.  “It’s normal that we go through challenges, but God wants to comfort us,” she said.  “This is exactly my situation,” said Aziza. “I’m standing in the challenges.”

Anette offered to pray for Aziza and the challenges she was facing.  “Now, I feel good,” Aziza said.  “Why?” Anette asked.  “Maybe it was the cake, being outside, good conversation, or maybe because you prayed for me,” Aziza said.  Hugs and goodbyes were exchanged as the women parted ways. On the way home Anette’s phone beeped, indicating a new SMS message.  It was from Aziza: “Thank you!  May God bless you!”

Sometimes in ministry in North Africa its the small acts of obedience that make the biggest difference.

  • Pray for workers like Anette to faithfully share God’s love in the small, everyday moments.
  • Pray for Aziza to come to know Jesus as her Saviour.
  • Pray for workers to have opportunities today to share from God’s Word, and to pray for their friends and contacts in North Africa.

All names have been changed.

Sharing Bartimaeus with a Beggar

A worker in North Africa shares with us:

A group of us were out prayer walking the streets of our city. A beggar on the street heard us coming along and started to call out to us as we got close.  One in our group said to him, “I have no money on me today, but I can tell you a story and pray for you. Would you like me to?”.  We realised that he was blind or vision impaired.  Our team mate told him the story of Bartimaeus and how he called out to Jesus to heal him.  We asked the man if he could ask God for one thing today, what would it be.  He replied, “My body”. So we prayed for his healing.  He started to sob.  Tears running down his face, we asked him, “What are you feeling right now?”.  “God’s peace!”, was his reply.

How to pray:

  1. Praise God for this opportunity to share a story from God’s Word.
  2. Praise God that His Spirit and presence is so real that people can feel Him at work in their lives and are touched by the Peace of God.
  3. Pray for the healing of this beggar.
  4. Ask God to give dreams of Jesus to him.
  5. Pray for more opportunities to share with people in North Africa, the love of Jesus, His saving power, and His compassion and mercy.
  6. Ask God for a harvest to come forth all across North Africa from the seeds that have been sown over the centuries.

I want to come to Church

A worker in North Africa shares with us:

“I was up early on the Sunday morning heading to our International Church to lead the worship.  I was carrying my guitar in hand and stopped into a cafe along the way for a cup of my favorite strong coffee to get my day started.  Seeing my guitar, the waiter asked me what I was doing and where I was going.  I replied, “I am going to church”.  The conversation continued.  He wanted to know about church and what we do there.  He asked what we use the guitar for and commented that there is no singing in the mosque.  He was so interested to know more and said, “Oh I really want to come with you, but I have to work!”.

“I am really struck that so much has changed in my nation in the last couple of years.  Before I used to have many of the same kind of discussions with people. Always arguing with me.  Often trying to convert me to Islam.  These days, that happens far less. Now, people just want to know more.  They are curious.  They have questions. They are more likely to just listen and accept what I have to say.  They disagree with me less. They are open to know more.  We feel God has been answering our prayers that He would soften people’s hearts and cause them to be more open to hear and receive the Good News.  We have prayed for years that the seed would fall on good soil, not on hard and rocky ground to be blown away by the wind or eaten by the birds.  And we feel that our prayers have been answered. Its a new season in North Africa.  The Arab Spring certainly ushered in many changes, and this openness is one of them.  There are so many opportunities, and so few workers.  The harvest field is ripe, but where are the labourers?  Is God calling you? Come and join us.  We need your help.”

How to pray :

  • For more of these kinds of opportunities to share.
  • For more workers to join the work in North Africa to keep up with the interest being shown.
  • For more North Africans to be convinced of the Truth and Life that is found in Jesus.
  • That a mighty harvest will come across North Africa and the Church will grow in unprecedented ways!