Not too long ago, I went to India for the first time. I went to pray; I went because I believe in Mission India’s work; I went to learn and to understand, and I went believing that, having been praying my entire life, I had the hang of it. I was humbled, however, when the Lord brought Matthew 18 to my mind during a service we attended: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Sunday morning, about an hour into our drive, my heart was racing from the anticipation, excitement and heat. The bright colors, bright sun and bustling street kept my eyes running while the spices, roaming animals, trash and sewage filled my nose; the loud discussions of street vendors, pedestrians, car horns and motorbike engines clouded my ears. The car slamming on its brakes drew my thoughts back to our arrival at a church service.
The room we walked into was about the size of my classrooms at school, but with red carpet, pink walls and drawn curtains. When the service began, the pastor began to pray, and I instinctively bowed my head, closed my eyes and intended on listening to the words. I was quite surprised when I instead heard every person in that room praying with their mouths, with their lungs, and with their entire bodies. As I let the wave of sound wash over me, I heard shouted alleluias, shouts, cries, and pleads of desperation and joy; I heard tambourines and drums; I heard wholehearted prayers of my brothers and sisters in awe of their Master.
I had to peek at what I was experiencing, and I opened my eyes (sorry, kindergarten Sunday school teachers, but it was worth it!). I saw people so full of the Lord’s joy that they couldn’t help but dance. I saw a woman with her whole body flat on the floor, in complete awe and submission to the Lord. I saw men with their arms high and their hearts open to the Lord’s voice. I saw no folded hands as I opened my eyes during that prayer, and I couldn’t help but think that this was a vision of what the church should be. While Jesus may have been referring to young-aged children when He spoke Matthew 18, I believe it applies to young-faith children, as well. Sometimes the raw emotion, gratitude and awe of a new believer can be dulled over the years, and prayer can become routine. When this happens, sometimes a prompting to “change and become like little children” is all we need to remember that you never ‘get the hang of’ prayer or faith.
While the Lord used my first trip to India to remind me what wholehearted, simple faith looks like, He uses Mission India to introduce His name to the unreached people of India. I was blessed and honored to meet some of the brave, godly men and women who teach classes and lead churches. Many of those I met were brought to the Lord through an Adult Literacy Class or an after school Bible Club, and now they are so on fire for Him that they give their time to teach and bring others to Him. The work the Lord is doing in India is astounding!