Dani and Heyner Talk On Prayer
There are a lot of unknowns on the mission field. When a missionary team arrives to their city, they have to figure out what their main strategy is going to be in order to make new contacts. When a drunk person walks into their church and starts disrupting the service, they have to decide how to handle him. Or when a conversation starts on a bus ride about Christ, they have to figure out how to bring up the fact they are a missionary to talk about God. These are all decisions that potentially can be taken on with our own strategies, but instead God invites us to allow him to be a part of this church planting process through prayer.We asked a few of our 40/40 Church Planters on their thoughts about prayer.
“We need to realize who it is that sustains us and honestly, there’s no sense in not praying. Not praying is like being an ambassador who has no idea what the interests of her/his country are or what its leaders even want” (Dani Neiderhiser, 40/40 Church Planter, Cordoba, Argentina). This identity of being an ambassador (2 Cor 5:20) means that we have been given authority that is tempered with submission. It’s a tension formed between learning to hear the voice of the Father, learning to discern what He is doing around us and then acting in the authority He gives us through what He reveals. The amazing thing about God’s will is that He really wants to share it with us, “So Jesus explained himself at length. ‘I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing’” (John 5:19 The Message). Prayer takes us into a place where we can get involved in what is going on in God’s heart. It takes us into a deeper place of intimacy with God where we can truly come to know His heart more.
Prayer aligns us to God’s heart so we can act according to what He is doing, and that same intimacy gives us confidence to approach God, “knowing that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us” (I John 5:14). It’s not a two step program, it’s simply the beautiful flow of our relationship with God.
Heyner Rufasto is a 40/40 Church Planter in Ibarra, Ecuador. When asked about what kind of an impact prayer has made in their ministry, he was excited to share a recent story of God’s moving through prayer.
“Recently we have this thing going on with a disciple. His name is Santiago and we met him in a short-term missions event. He came to the church and we tried to follow up with him but because he was traveling all around for work, we never saw him again. But, we were praying for him a lot and trying to call him, but we could never get a hold of him... until the beginning of this year.
What he had told us about what happened was that he was leaving a party around Christmas time here in Ibarra and some guys jumped him and beat him up so brutally that he almost died. But during the attack he felt that someone wrapped their arms around him and covered him and he didn’t feel any pain.
He was in really bad shape when we went to visit. He literally couldn’t stand up, and he had a broken nose and a great portion of his body was swollen. By a miracle of God, he went to the doctor again, and the doctor told him it wasn’t necessary to do surgery as they had thought before. The doctor didn’t understand how because his nose had been completely broken, there were a lot of bruises on his head, and in a week and a half, there wasn’t a single one.
Now he can breathe normally, he can walk, and he can see. Even then, his vision is still recovering and he walks a little slow still, we know that this is a miracle. He has decided to come back to God and to stick to Him, and we’re walking with him through it. Just like Santiago, there are a lot of testimonies of how God has responded to prayer. In the houses of prayer, in family, in the leaders and in the new believers, God is faithful and he supports us.”
Heyner’s right, God is so faithful and does support us. How exciting to be a part of God’s plan and to see how He involves us. He doesn’t need us, but He has chosen to use the small stories of our lives to intertwine in with His larger story. That’s a sign of the kind of intimacy that God wants to have with us. It’s too cold to call prayer a tool that we use in the ministry... it’s the basis of relationship that needs to be formed in order to have a growing ministry. Dani says it best, “It directs our attention to the one who can make a difference. We can make a change here, but without God, it won't be a big one and it won't last.”