Believers come in to the church, a few at a time. As someone new enters, they make their way around the room to greet each person individually – taking 2 Corinthians 13:12 literally (“Greet one another with a holy kiss”). Pleasantries are exchanged, seats are taken, and the 7:30 meeting comes to a casual start around 7:55.
Once it starts, though, there’s nothing casual about this prayer meeting. The thirty or so brothers and sisters who have gathered at the church are prayer warriors in every sense of the word. The group ranges in age from 12-70, and they gather at Iglesia Centro Evangelico Misionero de Yarinacocha (Central Evangelical Missionary Church of Yarinacocha) each Wednesday to pray together.
Though the group is small, they sing praise with more force and passion than most Midwestern mega-churches in the United States. As I watch older women jump and clap, the line from Newsboys’ “He Reigns” pops into my head: “It’s the song of the forgiven, drowning out the Amazon rain.”
Soon the pastor has given a short devotional and the reason for the meeting begins in earnest. Prayer requests range from common things such as attendance numbers and sick church members to huge requests like “pray that God will provide us with the money to completely rebuild our church so that it doesn’t flood every time we get rain.” They include requests for my upcoming English classes, pleas for the safe and easy travel of Doug, Marilyn, and Robert in a couple of weeks.
We break up into small groups to pray together. For nearly an hour, the room is filled with the sounds of Christians lifting up their requests to God. As I listen to the Spanish prayers, picking out words and phrases here and there, I am struck with the realization that these people’s faith is far stronger than mine.
They stand here, in the heat and humidity, swatting away all manner of insects, simply pouring out their hearts to God. They truly believe that what they are asking will come to pass, if it’s God’s will. As I hear them calmly ask for a new “temple” (“templo,” the Spanish word for church building – the church “iglesia” is the people), I realize that they know what I so often forget – Our God is easily able to provide this AND SO MUCH MORE for them. They’re not asking a big thing in His eyes. Their childlike faith washes over me as I stand with my head bowed, and I am humbled. The power of these people’s prayers washes over me, and as Hermano Victor continues his prayer for the youth group, another line from “He Reigns” comes into my head:
“All the powers of darkness tremble at what they’ve just heard
‘Cause all the powers of darkness can’t drown out A SINGLE WORD.”
Glory, glory. Hallelujah.