Praying from Despair to Hope

“I’m so tired,” Tera said. She was close to tears. It was the first time I had seen our team leader so dejected and at the end of her tether.

Tera had visited Jen, a single mother who’s been struggling to find work since she left Wanhua 3 years ago. Jen told Tera that she only got baptized 2 years ago because she thought it would “change her luck”. She complained, “I was better off when I was doing bai bai. What’s the point of believing in Jesus? He’s done nothing for me. I’m still poor and struggling.” In a desperate attempt to seek guidance, Jen had visited a fortune teller at Longshan Temple.

This was another setback, one of several we had weathered as a team in the past few months. We were discouraged by the cycles of destructive behavior. One woman borrowed US$2,000 on her credit card to buy clothes. Another tried to commit suicide after a break-up. A third borrowed US$1,000 (with 20% interest) to keep her drug addict son out of prison.

Everywhere we turned, we saw the effects – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – of sin, the pain of living in a fallen world and the suffering caused by Satan’s lies. Like the crowds that Jesus saw, these women are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Where would we find the strength to show love and compassion? We felt overwhelmed.

Finally, Audrey said, “We need to pray!” During her home assignment, she had been reminded of J.O. Fraser’s “Prayer of Faith” and the OMF classic “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”. She was struck anew by these godly men, who realized their helplessness in ministry apart from God’s grace.

Here’s an excerpt from Fraser’s diary:

“I find myself able to do little or nothing apart from God’s going before me and working among men. Without this I feel like a man who has his boat grounded in shallow water. Pull or push as he may, he will not be able to make his boat move more than a few inches. But let the tide come in and lift his boat off the bottom – then he will be able to move it as far as he pleases, quite easily and without friction.”

To his prayer partners, Fraser wrote: “It is indeed necessary for me to go around among our Lisu, preaching, teaching, exhorting, rebuking, but the amount of progress made thereby depends almost entirely on the state of the Spiritual Tide in the village – a condition which you can control upon your knees as well as I can.”

As a team, we have made a commitment to spend more time praying together. We are engaged in a spiritual battle. Pray that God would remove the spiritual blindness that prevents women from seeing His glory. Pray that the bondage of old habits and cycles of destructive behavior may be broken as they come to our Heavenly Father through the blood of His Son.

Let us pray, holding on to this promise,

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15)

Teo Sin-Ee – Pearl Family Garden

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