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The simplest prayer

July 22, 2005

So, to be honest, I really wish I had more time to post.  I’ve got a whole lot on my mind right now.  I’d love some reflection time to sit and ponder this whole fatherhood experience so far and how I’ve changed (someone asked me that question and the best answer I could come up with was related to diaper changing).  But alas, between work, Steph, Elizabeth and homework (with the occasional stop to the friendly Xbox to play Forza), time is rather lacking.

You’ll notice that list is short a very important person: Jesus.  I’ve used all the hub-bub of Elizabeth being home as an oh-so-convenient excuse why Jesus and I are cool, and He’s over there and I’m over here, but we’re still cool.  (Please note biting, self-deprecating sarcasm).  To say the least, for some reason getting out more than a ten word prayer has been difficult for me as of late.

Which is why when I read the following passage from a great missionary biography I’m reading for school, I nearly wept.  The simplicity of it, the joy, the honesty.  Fantastic.  Friends, this is what Christianity is about.

From Christ’s Witchdoctor, the story of the Wai Wai tribe along the northern border of Brazil and their coming to Christ.  Elka was the first Wai Wai to become a ‘companion of Jesus.’

It was time for Elka to come to a decision.

Here he was, a chief, a witchdoctor, a handsome young man, his body and limbs well filled out, his features clean-cut and pleasing.  He was one to whom not only his own villagers were looking for leadership, but others as well; one ripe in the ways of the forest and field, in weaving hammocks, in many other skills.

And he was torn by indecision.

Before others began to stir in their hammocks he left the big house.  He strode across the clearing and entered and abandoned field which was being rapidly overtaken by jungle growth again.

"Father in the Sky," he said aloud on reaching the middle of the field and looking up as if he saw God sitting in His heaven, "Father, I want to know You.  So make Yourself known to me forever.  What do You think about that?  Old Elka wants You to come into the pit of his stomach, Father, and make his spirit strong."

He sat on a charred log, still intact after the burning so many seasons before.  He no longer looked up.  He spoke as if the One he talked to sat next to him on the log.

"Here I am, Father. I’m a witchdoctor.  This is what I am.  I’m a bad person, too.  I get angry.  I scold my wife.  And I’m sad about those things.  But this is the way I don’t want to be.  So my old being, take it out, Father.  You can because your Son died for my badness, in order to take it away.  Fix me to be another kind of person.  I want to be like You."

In contrition the young Indian bowed his black-crowned head, which even at this early hour was decorated with the downy white feathers of an eagle.  One by one he named his sins: hatred, lust, envy, foolish pride.

"This is the way I am, Father," he prayed quietly and sincerely.  "Fix me to be like Jesus.  That’s all I have to say this time, Father."

What’s your reaction, your thoughts?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2005 6:57 am

    Wow, that really is incredibly beautiful. It is simple as you say, yet shows that he has been given a full theological understanding and is truly ready to make a thoughtful decision for Christ. Makes me want to read that book.

  2. July 23, 2005 6:34 pm

    It was an amazing read. It goes into great detail of the Wai Wai life before the white men came, and then through their struggle with the old ways versus Jesus. The book ends with them going on to other tribes to share the Good News. Encouraging, well written and full of God’s love.

    And I got it from the Multnomah County Library system. Go figure.

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