Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A prayer of repentance

We are working with various local ministries here in the Johannesburg area as we wait for our visas to Namibia.  Yesterday we visited a home that takes in boys living on the street.  After we toured the house, met some boys and talked with some of the care givers, we went with the caregivers to do an outreach.  We took food to a very poor area of Joburg, but before we gave the food to the children and adults, we prayed for them and talked about the love that God has for them.  

As the food was being passed out, a man named Daniel approached Isaac and I and asked if we would pray for him to get a job.  He said that he had 3 children and a wife, has his papers in order, and has been putting in his application to various locations.  We said of course, and all held hands as I prayed for God to provide a job.  I hadn't said amen yet, when Daniel started his own prayer:

"God, I don't know if you will listen to me, but I want to be honest with you.  I know that I am bad.  I drink and I smoke and I steal.  But I want to change.  I want to be different.  I want to follow you and obey the laws that you made and I want to provide for my family.  I want to be a good husband and a good dad.  I want to make money, not to buy things that I used to, but to provide for my family.  I hope you listen to me God because this is coming from my heart.  Help me to be different."

In all my years of being in church and on the mission field, I have never heard a prayer of repentance like this man prayed.  It wasn't prompted by an "accept Jesus in your heart" invitation, or a call to repent of one's sins. But just as the Bible says that it's the Holy Spirit that convicts people of sin, I saw the Holy Spirit work in this man's heart and cause him to repent and draw near to God.  Amazing. 

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