Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Tengo un proposito"

In the Dominican Republic and Venezuela particularly before services begin there is likely to be a time for anyone to ask for the prayers of the church. Often times it is for someone who is sick--the member themselves or some relative or friend, but another common request is our title, which I think translates more or less "I am planning something and ask for your prayers". The plan or intention is seldom specified, it is just "I have a plan and need your prayers." The first time I heard this I was struck by it, as it is very different than our custom in requesting prayers in this country. Normally we are more specific (in the islands they can be embarrasingly specific--you wish you didn't know what they were asking for prayers for).

Which one of these three customs is "right"? I suggest it is the one that fits their culture. I started musing about this today when a brother called me and asked Dana and I to pray for him concerning an unspecified high point in his life. He said, "I believe that prayer has an effect, as I know you do, so I'm asking you to pray for us about this."

Brethren, do we really believe prayer can change things? If so, why don't we ask each for prayers more often? James tells us, "confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." He goes on to cite the example of Elijah--he prayed that it might not rain and it did not rain for 3 1/2 years--until he prayed again that it would. He goes on to point out that Elijah was just a man, a man like you and me.

As we are gearing up for our move to Puerto Rico I ask you to pray for us, that the move may go smoothly and that we may find a house we can both afford and enjoy.


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