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Learning to Pray Like an African

Learning to Pray Like an African

Pastor Brent said I should listen to the Bend Adventist Fellowship worship service for January 15, 2022. “Listen on Facebook,” he said. “You’ll be totally inspired. Four of our ladies are telling about their Christmas mission trip to Kenya.”

He was right! The entire worship service was fun and inspiring, but near the end the women shared something that has changed the way I think about prayer. Here it is…

"We had Vacation Bible School meetings each evening while we were there, and one day the youth pastor who was speaking asked the girl who was translating if she would pray for us."

“OK,” the translator said. “Do you want me to do an American prayer or an African prayer?”

“Just do it in English,” she answered. “The girls will get a little bit of the English and we’ll all be able to understand most of it.”

“No, no, no, no,” the translator responded. “Do you want an African prayer or an American prayer?”

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“Well, an African prayer is like 'God, help me through this trial. I know I am going through it, but I need you to help me get through it. The American prayer would be, God, get me out of this! Don’t let me go through this trial.'

It seems that an African believer’s perspective on life is that there are hard times to come, and we’re going through them regardless. We’re here on earth and that’s just the way it is.

However, an American believer’s perspective is often quite different. We’re much quicker to blame God for the trials or to get mad at Him for not solving the problem immediately. Sometimes we pray, “If you love me, you wouldn’t let these things happen to me.”

It’s possible that the African perspective does a much better job of strengthening their faith and their level of joy as they go through life. You may not know the details of what’s coming, but you do know that God’s going to take you through every single part of it. There’s a lot of joy in knowing that is true. A lot of peace in trusting God. Regardless.

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