[Let me set the scene for you…]
Our Malawian host family, Pastor Frederick and Matilda Manjandima, have re-defined what it means to be a Christian who is on fire for the Lord.
Every morning at 4:30am, they get up to pray and praise the Lord.
They pray with fire. They pray with a desperate yet passionate confidence.
This has humbled me in an incredible way.
It has sobered me.
Their faith defines dedication.
They worship so simply, but with all of their heart.
Upon entering the place where they meet, they fall face-first onto the mats laid on top of the packed dirt and earnestly seek the face of God.
Then they rise up, clapping hands and singing loud praises…dancing in fluid motions with great joy, excited to dance before their King.
Through all of this, I’ve had to fight the spirits of performance and comparison.
I see them looking at us, the missionaries, and I have to break off the urge to put on a face and perform just for the sake of looking good.
Sure, I’m a missionary, but I most definitely don’t have it all together.
I have to fight my flesh, my unwillingness.
I have to fight against feeling inadequate all of the time.
When I look at these people and see how they pray and worship, I feel like what I have to offer the Lord isn’t enough.
But that’s not true at all.
It’s okay that we pray and worship differently.
We come from different cultures.
And it’s okay to pick up new things, or at least learn from each other.
To experience new ways of prayer and worship.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to come home and want to dance like they do in Africa.
It’s SO FUN!
But God doesn’t expect us to all do like the Africans do.
Every culture is different.
When we’re here, we want to dress appropriately and learn all we can to fit into the culture. We must “…become all things to all men so that by all possible means some might be saved.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
We want to be relevant to the culture and respect it.
But at the same time, we are also our own people, with our own personalities and ways of communicating with God.
We each have our own hearts, created by the Lord Himself.
So it’s okay if we pray and worship differently.
The main thing is to make sure that we are doing it with all of our heart.
I want to worship and pray with earnest passion.
Africans make Jesus look incredible, if maybe a bit crazy at times 🙂
They aren’t afraid to look different than the world and the culture around them.
Their desire is to reach their neighbors and communities and the world.
They want everyone to know the passion they have.
It’s natural for them.
And it makes me think. Why am I here? Why am I doing this?
It’s ALL because of Jesus.
It has to be.
If He’s not the reason, than nothing makes any sense.