A Prayer Story From Connie Connally

As most of you at FPC know, my son Brendan is a missionary. He had his first extended experience with missions when he was eighteen and doing a “gap year.” During that time he went to the Brazilian Amazon jungle and assisted a British missionary family for about six months. He learned Portuguese, dealt with overwhelming humidity, and came to love and respect poor Brazilians as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Brendan told us about a Brazilian fisherman with whom he spent a day on the river. The man’s son was a well-educated pastor, but the fisherman himself was illiterate. He was also a mature, dedicated Christian. Since he couldn’t read scripture, he depended on his church for Bible teaching, and his private devotional life was based solely on prayer. I’m sure he wished he could read the Bible; but nonetheless his faith was vibrant because he prayed.

This has stayed in my mind over the years. I have been a Christian since I was fourteen, and in my own devotions I’m much more reliable about reading Scripture than praying. I don’t know why this is; maybe it’s because I can intellectualize Scripture, but I can’t do that with prayer. Reading I can do with my head; prayer has to come from the heart. It’s deep work and often hard. But the Brazilian fisherman did it day after day, and he was known for his strength of faith. When we think about it, this is how millions of illiterate Christians have related to God, some of them very faithfully.

I’m so thankful to be able to read the Bible each morning. But I know that all too often I neglect the great gift of prayer, and I am probably not alone in this. During our Prayer Challenge this fall, I hope we’ll all grow as people of prayer. God is inviting us, calling us, and listening.