Written by Alyssa Esparaz
This series is about youth who strive to make this generation one of compassion. They are responding to the brokenness in the world by taking action with Compassion Canada. We hope these stories inspire and encourage you.
Stories of the Power of Prayer from the Developing World
How do you react when you see all the poverty, injustice and suffering in the world? Some of us might feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Others might rush into action without carefully considering our response.
But how often do we think to respond with prayer? I get it—I will be the first to admit that with so much going on in the world, and so many distractions all around me, it is far too easy to ignore Jesus’ example of turning to our Father in heaven.
But stories from Compassion’s local church partners in the developing world often remind me of the importance and the power of prayer. Our brothers and sisters in the developing world show us that in the face of overwhelming and hopeless situations, it is vital to turn to prayer.
The stories of Gerardo, Mackline and Pablo are all inspiring examples…
Gerardo often saw his father around his neighbourhood in Nicaragua. But the heartbreaking reality was that Gerardo’s father would not recognize him as his legitimate son. Abandoned by his mother, Gerardo longed for the acceptance of his father. He shared this hope with his grandmother and with the staff at the Compassion Centre at his local church. They prayed with Gerardo for years. Eventually, evidence of God’s work in the heart of Gerardo’s father became clear. A relationship began to grow not only between Gerardo and his father, but his father’s wife and family, too. Today, Gerardo takes his father’s last name, and when his grandmother became too sick to care for him, Gerardo moved in with his father. The power of prayer brought reconciliation to this once-broken relationship. “I prayed and the Lord answered me,” Gerardo says. His next prayer is that his father would come to accept Jesus as his Saviour.
When Mackline, a young girl from Kenya, began experiencing sharp abdominal pains, her family immediately felt hopeless. Just a few years prior, they had lost Mackline’s older sister to similar symptoms. They were sure that Mackline’s situation would be the same. But Compassion’s local church partner rallied around them, helping with medical costs and covering Mackline in prayer. When she was diagnosed with liver cancer, that commitment to prayer became vital as she fought for her life. Many miracles occurred throughout Mackline’s treatment. She was one of the first patients of the children’s cancer ward at the local hospital. Her response to chemotherapy was literally described as miraculous. And her early diagnosis made the difference that saved her life. Mackline’s mom describes the Compassion staff at the local church as relentless. “They showed immense dedication,” she says, “They went the extra mile and visited and prayed for us.”
Pablo spent his young adulthood in the neighbourhood of Gualey in the Dominican Republic. Living amid violence, danger and gang wars, and working at a drug- and alcohol-ridden nightclub led Pablo into a destructive lifestyle of crime and substance abuse. It eventually caught up with him, and Pablo was put in jail. Upon his release, he began to think about his wife and two children, Vladimir and Kasey. This was the beginning of an incredible transformation in his life. Although he didn’t know it, this was the answer to the prayers of the members of the local church where Vladimir and Kasey were enrolled in the Compassion program. “I so appreciate the church, because they prayed to God to save my life, and He heard them,” Pablo says. Today, many years after his arrest, Pablo is a pastor and leader in his community. His story is a beautiful picture of the transformative power of prayer.
I hope these stories inspired you as much as they inspire me. Prayer can be mysterious, but these stories show us one thing for sure: Prayer is powerful, and through it, relationships are reconciled, bodies are healed, and lives are transformed.
So, what is that big, overwhelming thing in your own life that you need to turn to God with in prayer? He wants you to bring it to Him!
And looking beyond our own lives: As the Body of Christ—and particularly as young people in the Church—how can we be incorporating prayer into the way we respond to poverty, injustice and suffering, both locally and globally?
Want to pray daily with us? Visit www.compassion.ca/prayer.