Fruit in Obedience
Extraordinary Prayer and Its Role in Kingdom Advance
“Ever since going through these stories together I feel closer to God,” mused Zahira, a local woman from a UPG. My friend Zahira, her aunt and I had been going through a Creation to Christ set of Bible stories for several months. Sometimes I felt like I was in over my head, yet I was thrilled to see God actively working through His Word—not only in my own heart but especially in the hearts of these genuine seekers. The Holy Spirit was leading and guiding with increasing clarity in the lives of these women as they learned the Word of God and sought God for wisdom to know how to apply it in their lives. Little by little, we were all are becoming grounded in His Word and dependent on His Spirit.
Sharing life, prayers, and a heart level connection—this is where our journey began. These daily interactions led into stories. Then came a moment when I simply asked, “Would you like to study more of these stories together?” Zahira said yes and our tea times began, at first with a kind of awkward formality. We did everything orally, as neither she nor her aunt could read. We soon realized much of our awkwardness was from not fully understanding the questions, nor the flow of time intended. Soon, however, Zahira “got it,” and rose to the task of clarifying and implementing with her aunt all the elements of Discovery; including both obeying and sharing the stories with others.
Eventually we were confidently working through the process with every new story, naturally integrating all the elements into our relaxed tea time. We began to feel a sense of equality and mutual responsibility in our times together. Our growing consistency also led to a more focused dialogue. At first, our time was filled with comments like, “this reminds me of in the Koran, when…” and “I saw in a movie that….” As I repeatedly redirected us by asking “Where does the story say that?,” Zahira also began redirecting discussion back to the story. As a result the group’s tendency toward distraction faded.
As they grew in telling the biblical stories—both with each other during the group and with others during the week—their engagement with and memory of those stories grew. They naturally linked content and themes in the stories together, seeing them all as interconnected, building toward a cumulative point. This linking of stories and limiting of references to outside sources has led to exciting insights and heart-felt decisions. With this and other groups of women it has been very tempting to just answer their questions or teach them from my own store of wisdom. And yet as we have looked at stories from the Word together we have been amazed to see what the Holy Spirit has brought out of the story for each of them. The result has been so much deeper and longer-lasting than anything I could have taught them.
For example, we had just finished the Passover story when Zahira said, ‘The thing standing out to me from this story is the significance of blood. There is something very important to God about blood—a need for a sacrifice. Just as in the first story of Adam and Eve when they left the garden and the Lord killed an animal to clothe them, blood was needed. I want to ask the Lord why.” God began to answer her through dreams that connected with these stories!
Several months later we finished sharing the story of the 10 Lepers and Zahira said something that floored me. “In all these stories Jesus refers back to the law of Moses…like the unclean should be outside the camp and other things like that…and yet He (Jesus) then changes the law…and goes to the unclean to make them clean. It’s like He is making a new law.” What a privilege to see the Holy Spirit teach her such concepts. She learned these things from the Word of God as each week she took away something from the story to obey and then shared the story with her husband (or another person or group).
As we continued discussing stories, Zahira and her aunt began to see each story as spiritually significant and unique. Zahira also began attributing any good things done by me or other believers to the good things seen in the stories, and she gave “credit” for this good to God Himself. Likewise, she began giving God the “credit” (glory/praise) for her own steps of obedience. She now increasingly understands the relationship between discovery in the stories and discovering truths about God. She knows that as she obeys these stories she is obeying God. We are trusting God for the promise of Acts 2:39 for these women and many others: “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”