This week Phil and I are looking at our post as missionaries in a new context. We know we were sent here to be groomed, educated, and prepared as missionary aviators. We have mentioned in past blogs the way the Lord is stretching and growing us personally as well as “professionally”. We know that the lessons in the cockpit, the mechanic shop, the home and the heart are all a part of the Lord’s good process in preparing us for what we hope is to be our life’s work.
This week, we are feeling a particular burden for our neighbors. We are surrounded on all sides by people in great pain, anger, and distress. From intense marital conflict (the kind of stuff that’s scary to listen to), to severe mental illness, to the worship of false gods, we are engulfed in a community of need. I confess that I have been overwhelmed by the “scariness” of our neighbors. When I invited the muslim woman downstairs and to the left to tea she said, “no” and when I tried to greet their daughter, her husband silenced me as though I were a child speaking out of turn.
Many days I hear the woman with mental illness in the apartment beneath us cursing at her dog and telling people where to go in no uncertain terms. The neighbors to our left share a wall with the room which will soon be occupied by our son. From within his room we can hear the husband verbally assault his wife in ways that leave us feeling tragically hopeless. And yet, it is our prayer that God would use us, somehow, someway to be a light in this dark little apartment complex. We want to be true missionaries of the gospel of peace right here and now. “But Lord, the darkness feels too heavy and the sadness feels too sad. How might you use us so that the story of redemption might begin in these precious lives?” I ask in prayer.
Concurrently, I am going through a Beth Moore study with a pastor’s wife and friend. This week I read a chapter on prayer and I was reminded of the dangerous, lethal, sacred, and holy power we have in prayer. It is for this reason that the enemy seeks to make us busy, well intentioned, but prayerless people. Beth Moore describes how many of us will serve and serve and serve yet grow weary and apathetic because our prayer life is not what it needs to be. Beth Moore describes substantive prayer as “original thoughts flowing from a highly individual heart, personal and intimate.” And she charges us, “Prayer matters. The Spirit of God released through our prayers and the prayers of others turns cowards into conquerors, chaos into calm, cries into comfort.”
Perhaps you’ve read and heard dozens upon dozens of sermons on the power of prayer. The question we must all ask ourselves in humility and truthfulness is, “How much am I praying for lost and hurting people?” It is before this mirror of assessment that we can truly grow as effective missionaries in our own communities.
If you keep a list of things to pray for please pray the following three things for the Vana family: First, that we would be a family faithful in prayer for lost people around us. Second, that we would see the Spirit of God move in the lives of our neighbors and that we would have the courage to be a part of the process. Finally, that we would be supernaturally protected from the spiritual darkness surrounding us. The biggest ways we feel spiritually attacked right now are in the way of sleeplessness, sickness, and relational tension. We know that victory is in Christ and that it comes through the prayers of friends just like you. We are grateful.