On July 31st, during our last Sunday service in Mozambique, we were attending one of the churches planted years ago by Pastor Abel Faz-Ver, our Mozambican Operations Director. This was also the church he currently leads as pastor. Jason had finished speaking, and they were taking the time to do some more corporate worship when Abel called up a young boy to the podium.
Abel is a firm believer in the power of prayer, spends much time in prayer, and encourages his congregation and the pastors under him to make personal and corporate prayer a priority. They regularly gather outside of scheduled church services to hold corporate prayer. On Thursday, just a few days prior to this Sunday service, his church had held an overnight prayer meeting to pray for some very specific things.
He began explaining how this boy had come by himself to the church that evening where they were holding the corporate prayer meeting. Abel had asked the boy why he was there, thinking maybe the boy was confused and thought another event was taking place. The boy had responded that he had come for the prayer meeting.
As Abel relayed the story to the congregation, his eyes welled up with tears, and his voice began to crack with emotion. This precious child was willing to come on his own to participate in corporate prayer, and yet, there were so many adults who didn’t make it a priority to attend. Emotion and conviction began to flow through the congregation, and they entered a time of repentance and deeper worship.
I too, was convicted. I know how important prayer is, and yet, I often do not make it a priority in my own life, especially when life gets busy.
One thing we’ve noticed about the churches we’ve attended in Mozambique is how the children are brought in to be a part of the service. They are included, not separated, from the main service. They sit quietly, listening to the sermons. They participate in the worship with dancing and singing. They participate in the altar calls and the calls to prayer.
A week or so prior, we had attended a church that was in a more remote part of the community. In fact, it was unreachable by van and took us about a 45-minute walk to get there. This church literally had sticks and mud for walls. Their roof was a combination of tin and rice sacks and whatever they could find to patch holes just to provide some shade. The children listened intently to the church’s pastor, to Jason when he spoke, and to Abel’s interpretation. At the end of that service, we prayed for many people and then the children were invited up by the pastor to be prayed for.
I will never forget these precious children! They all lined up and knelt on the dirt floor, their heads bowed, their eyes closed, and their little hands held out with palms facing up, ready to receive prayer. I couldn’t help but cry as I prayed for them. To see such child-like faith was both moving and convicting for us.
I was reminded of the following account told in Matthew 19:13-15.
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
I’m reminded too of how God used the prayers of children to literally birth the vision of what would become Hope of a Nation.
It was 2019, and mine and Jason’s first Sunday together in Mozambique. We had been scheduled to arrive in Mozambique on March 15th, but that very day our flight from South Africa to Mozambique was cancelled because of incoming Cyclone Idai, a force that the U.N. described at the time as “possibly the worst natural disaster to ever strike the southern hemisphere.”
After about a week in South Africa, the airport in Beira, Mozambique, reopened, so Jason flew in. I stayed behind with some new friends in South Africa for another week until he could assess whether he felt it was safe enough for me to join him. Once I joined him, our first Sunday together was at Abel’s brother’s church. At that time, we still didn’t know why God was calling us to return to Mozambique, we just went. Our Mozambican friends were wanting to know why God had begun sending us back there as well.
During that service, one of the pastors said he had a dream the night before that the children were laying hands on me and Jason, praying for us to receive a vision of what it was God wanted us to do there. So, they decided to literally reenact what he had dreamed.
A few days after the children prayed for us, Jason woke up in the middle of the night with a very detailed dream of a new ministry. He saw a farm, various ministries, and how everything would have an overflow effect. God literally used the prayers of precious children to birth this ministry! It’s amazing to think about.
Oh, to have the heart of a child in our relationship with our heavenly Father! To believe without wavering, even when we cannot see!