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Prayer That Uplifts

When Stories Hurt the Heart

November 7, 2021 by

Often as I sit comfortably on my bed looking at the news, I read stories that hurt my heart even though they never reach me physically. Since October 16, many of us have been praying for the seventeen missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti. I cannot begin to imagine the terrifying uncertainty they are facing. They have an eight-month-old baby with them – or is it nine months by now? Are they afraid, or are they managing to hold onto their faith? Are they safe or have they been tortured? I’ve read the story of Paul and Silas being freed from jail several times recently (Acts 16:16–34), praying that God will intervene again to rescue these missionaries, safe and unhurt.

The seventeen missionaries are part of Christian Aid Ministries, an organization run by Amish and Mennonite churches. Less than a week after the kidnapping the New York Times published an article detailing the effort among Amish and Mennonite families to take turns praying every half hour around the clock for the kidnapped missionaries. I was not surprised to hear about this unified response from these churches. Although the Bruderhof is not Amish or Mennonite, we share an Anabaptist faith tradition. I have many friends in the plain communities and have experienced the depth of their faith.

HaitiEmbed Caption: Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.

As I contemplate these seventeen people, not knowing from one minute to the next whether they will have to give up their lives or the lives of their children, I want to become more mindful of faith in each moment. Regardless of their doctrine, they are undeniably my brothers and sisters in Christ, who put total trust in God for every aspect of their lives. Even now I’m sure that they and their loved ones are praying that regardless of this situation’s outcome, God’s will would be done.

This complete surrender to God’s will is the most peaceful and exciting thing about being a Christian. Knowing God’s power gives me purpose. It’s easy to forget this purpose during the day and forget why it’s exciting to be alive. Every day there are opportunities to make other people happy. I usually miss many of them, but God certainly puts them in front of me.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37–39). He was giving us a direction for our lives. I want to aim my life toward love for the people I see every day in my own home. The hostages’ situation seems very unclear but I also want to join the prayer battle for them. I want my faith to become more alive. I want to remember more often what I really believe and what I hold more important than all else: my dedication to God.

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About the author

Esther Keiderling

Esther Keiderling

Esther Keiderling lives and works at the Fox Hill Bruderhof.

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