You might think of prayer as that thing you do when you can't do anything else.
- When a friend is sick and needs healing
- When a husband goes off to war
- When your children are off on their own, away from your protective embrace
- When a nation is being ravaged, raped, and killed.
That's how I felt when I first heard about what's happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Eighteen years ago we watched the country of Rwanda nearly implode by a horrific Genocide that killed over 500,000 people. Neighbors killed neighbors. Friends killed friends. Adults killed children in the most horrible ways possible.
Today, Rwanda is healing. Through the efforts of the church, a thriving coffee industry promoting wealth and forgiveness, and prayer, Rwandans are forgiving each other, finding the power of the cross to heal their hearts, and walking in a freedom they didn't have before.
But just over the hills, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, an entire people group live in constant fear of the same rebels who started the Rwandan Genocide and fled to the hills when it was ending.
More than one generation of children in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has never known a secure, peaceful childhood. They have grown-up, looking over their shoulders, recognizing their fears could easily be realized with civil unrest or political upheaval. In most cases, brutality has impacted them personally or in their extended family, leaving emotional wounds that have never healed (from the Seed Company website).
Just a few months ago, I cried out to you for help for the people of the DRC just after they suffered another brutal attack where over 100 people of the Tembo communities were slaughtered. They were killed with machetes, knives, or by being thrown alive into fire.
I asked you to pray.
But even as I did, I felt so useless, and wondered aloud with my husband why a group of armed men don't go over there right now and put an end to the torment of these precious people?
I thought of prayer as that thing I do when I can't do anything else . . . but then I read this from Bill McCoy, of the Seed Company:
"Sometimes, prayer doesn’t feel like it’s as impactful as other courses of action. In fact, I sometimes catch myself internalizing a perspective that sounds like “I guess all we can do is “just” pray.” But, that’s a wrong perspective! Scripture-based prayer is our most powerful weapon. What other weapon do we have to fight spiritual battles?"
The Seed Company, whose mission is to accelerate Scripture translation and impact for people without God’s Word through Great Commission partnerships, faithfully serves the people of the DRC through Trauma Healing Workshops. Through the power of the Gospel, the people there are getting stronger every day, and learning to overcome their fears even when their fears are still very real.
Prayer IS Action
And as I pondered and prayed about wanting to do more to protect them from harm I realized that the greatest gift I can give them is to pray God's Word, which never returns void. So my family and I began praying one scripture or scripture passage for the people of the DRC each day in the month of November.
You can download a PDF copy of our prayer calendar for the DRC here. It's based on a 30-day calendar and can be adapted for any month of the year.
I worried at first that the story of what is happening in the DRC would scare my boys. At just five and seven years old, they both have very tender, easily frightened hearts. But we braved it, leaving certain difficult-to-understand details out, and the result has been amazing.
My youngest, whose heart is often the hardest for me to reach, has told everyone in our family about what's happening in the DRC. When we sit down at the breakfast table each morning he eagerly asks what we're praying for the DRC today, and both of our boys bow their heads in prayer, asking the Jesus they believe has the power to protect, to bring peace to their brothers and sisters in a different country. They're getting a vision for the greater work of the Gospel, and beginning to see life outside of their own four (sometimes very selfish) walls.
And that's priceless.
Yes, prayer is so much more than what we do when we can't do anything else. Prayer, my friends, changes lives . . . including our own.
If you would like to join me in praying for the people of the DRC, please visit the Seed Company website and sign up to be an official prayer partner. They'll send you more information about this people group to connect your heart with what's really happening there. You can also partner with them financially by clicking here, OR by purchasing a copy of From Mom's Failure to God's Grace: Stories of Raising Boys from the MOB Society Writers (all proceeds go directly to the translation efforts in the DRC).
Feel like you need some Hope to kick off your 2013? Join in Hope for the New Year, a deeper study of the new Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess, starting January 7, 2013. When you sign-up, you'll get a special gift from me! (And the book is on sale for just $2.99 today on Kindle!)