Prayed for by name

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The following entry is written by Shainu Thomas

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I want to tell you about Miriam’s story (that is not her real name). I met Miriam at a local Bible study. She is from an Indian background, just as I am. Through our initial conversation, we realized that we both grew up in the same town in Northwest India. She asked me if I was a recent convert to Christianity or if I had been a Christian for a long time. I told her that I come from a family that has worshiped Christ for many generations.

She proceeded to tell me that she had just converted to Christianity about five years ago. I was eager to hear about how she came to follow Jesus. She told me that she comes from a very staunch Hindu family. She talked about how oppressed she felt as a housewife in her large household. Without going into details about her struggles, she explained how for years, she cried out to every Hindu deity she knew. She pleaded with them, if indeed they were real, to rescue her from her oppression. She cried, but in vain. After years of desperate pleas, she told the gods she had known all her life that they were dead to her as she was to them.

However, she was not willing to concede that there was no ‘higher power.’ She knew there had to be a God. So she started praying to Buddha, and to any other gods she was aware of. Once again, she was confronted with silence. Her anguish continued and she did not know where to turn.

Miriam’s family went away on a trip to a scenic destination. While she was there, she noticed the majesty of the mountains and the sheer beauty that surrounded her. She cried in her heart, “God, this has to be your creation. You have to be the One who created such beauty. Please reveal yourself to me if you are real.” As a part of the tour, their guide took them to an old Catholic Church. As Miriam entered the church, she noticed the crucifix at the front. She sat in the pews and stared at the cross. All of a sudden, she heard a voice, so clear that she thought it was audible to all. “I am the way, I am the life, and I will give you peace.” She thought she had lost her mind because she was hearing voices. She tried convincing herself that she didn’t hear anything. But she couldn’t deny what she had just heard.

She left the church with her family and felt a sense of peace like she had never felt before. After that she returned home with her family, still perplexed over her experience at the church. She only knew of one person who was a Christian, a woman named Sharon. Sharon was a retired missionary, now her children’s tutor. In fact, she had taught Miriam’s children for about nine years. Miriam decided to ask Sharon for a Bible. (Now this is the part that amazed me!) Miriam told me that she later found out that Sharon had been praying for her and for her family for about nine years. Sharon was faithfully praying, not knowing all that the Lord had started to do in Miriam’s life.

Sharon encouraged Miriam to start reading the gospels. As she read through the gospels, Miriam thought that Jesus was a good person who helped the poor and took care of the sick. And then she started reading through the gospel of John. She got to the part where Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Miriam had never read this portion before, yet once again, the words jumped out at her. She felt like she heard the same voice she had heard in the old church while she was on vacation with her family. This time, she could not deny the God who had revealed Himself to her yet again.

She found the God who had been pursuing her, long before she knew Him or started pursuing Him. Over the next five months, she devoured the Bible and read it cover to cover. She read and listened to everything that would help her know Jesus more. The Lord brought more people into her life who would teach her about Himself. Eventually, she and her two children got baptized.

Most of her family still continues to follow Hinduism, and those who know of her conversion do not approve of her new faith. But she prays fervently for their salvation. She prays, because she was the recipient of grace through the prayers of one faithful tutor. She prays because she was prayed for… by name.

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