Thu, Jan 1: Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. – Hebrews 4:13 Bakary is a night watchman at the hospital. During the night, the medicine storeroom was broken in to. Bakary reported the incident when the nurse arrived for work. When asked, he, of course, knew nothing about it, hadn’t heard anything, and certainly hadn’t been sleeping! In Bakary’s mind, the medicine could be stolen because “God wasn’t watching”. Pray that the MNK will acknowledge God’s omnipresence and man’s inability to hide from Him.
Fri, Jan 2: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8 It’s Friday, time to go to the mosque. It is easy to spot those who have made the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca. Both men and women wear a very distinctive scarf, adorned with a black and gold braided headpiece. Every eye is on them as they walk proudly to the mosque. Every Muslim knows they must fulfill this requirement. Lamin is looking forward to his trip next month…now HE will be counted among the truly holy MNK men. Pray that the MNK will come to know the truth of what God requires of them…to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.
Sat, Jan 3: Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. – Genesis 8:21 The children are at it again! Pushing, tugging, hitting, yelling. Kadi just came in from the rice field, exhausted, and is ready to discipline the oldest. But her mother-in-law gently admonishes her; “Leave them alone; they are just children; God doesn’t remember these kinds of things; it’s only after they are older, married.” For the Mandinka, personal accountability is negligible; just about everything can be excused or explained away. Pray for the MNK to acknowledge that sin is a personal, individual choice, which can be overcome through the power of the Living Christ.
Sun, Jan 4: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. – Colossians 3:23 Modou has just gotten a job within government. He knows his workload will be light and his paycheck substantial. His supervisors will not expect him to perform above a minimal level; that’s the norm within low level government. Modou is excited. Sadly, he was never taught that there is a connection between his religious life and his everyday life. Pray for Modou that above all he will see his need to serve the Lord with his entire life, not just in his religious obligations.
Mon, Jan 5: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. – Hebrews 4:15 MNKs are tempted daily, whether in the capital city or in the smallest village…whether man or woman…whether adult or child. MNK men, especially, worry that their wives or children will do something that will seriously embarrass them and their family name. Pray for MNKs to come to the realization that sin is contrary to the will of God, and that through the Blood, every person can be righteous.
Tue, Jan 6: I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8 A world without the peace of God is a very fearful one. The MNK have many superstitions and beliefs that have become mixed in with their adherence to Islam. Women close all their windows at night to prevent witches from entering and stealing their children. They accept that it is 90o+ inside the house. Pray that the God of Peace will enter into the lives of the MNK, especially the women who live in a constant state of fear of the unknown.
Wed, Jan 7: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. – Matthew 23:37 The MNK cannot fathom that God would seek after them, that He would have a desire to know them, that he would yearn to gather them under His protective arms. Pray today for those around the world who intercede on behalf of the MNK; pray for God’s Holy Spirit to empower those who work among the MNK, as well as the MNK believers.
Thu, Jan 8: Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything. – Philippians 4:5 Sali epitomizes elderly MNK women. She has an air of ease about her; she is rarely in a hurry; she doesn’t quarrel; she is gentle. But another aspect of her life also epitomizes MNK women: she is lost. She does not know God; she does not know she needs to know God. Pray that this common characteristic of elderly MNK women will lead them to seek the One who is Gentle, Kind, Good, and Righteous.
Fri, Jan 9: Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. – Proverbs 27:6 Lamin has a guest from his childhood to entertain today. Though his wife has never really liked this man, she would never say so! So, when the guest arrives, Kadi greets him energetically and they exchange kind words…what a wonderful cook she is…what an upstanding man he is…etc…etc. While Kadi knows that this man has cheated many through shady business transactions, including her husband, the MNK way is not to say so. It is better to keep peace than to tell the truth; there is no shame in silence, but there is shame in confrontation. Pray that the God of Truth will enter into these lives and that salvation will become a reality.
Sat, Jan 10: Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path. – Psalm 27:11 A one minute radio announcement asks the question, Which road are you on? and then follows with Scripture from God’s Word. “What do they mean, which road,” thinks Bakary; “I’m on the only road I know, the Muslim road.” Is there any other road? Pray for the Bible-based MNK radio broadcasts to capture the attention of the MNK and turn their hearts to the Straight Way.
Sun, Jan 11: The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “You shall be with child and give birth to a son. Mary asked, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “Nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1:31,34,35 The virgin birth is quite a concept, especially to Binta as she thinks about her young daughters. Pregnancy outside of marriage, though frowned upon, is more common these days. She thinks about what she would say if her daughter came to her announcing she was pregnant. Yet the missionary who told her the story of Jesus’ birth insisted that with God, NOTHING is impossible. Pray that Binta will come to understand God’s character as all-powerful and unchanging.
Mon, Jan 12: Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18 The god MNKs fear and strive to obey does not long or rise to do anything for them. He is a distant god, unpredictable in when he will or will not show mercy or administer justice. So when Fatou discovers the broken bucket, she asks the other wives about it. No one will accept responsibility for the action. When Fatou discovers the truth, she devises a plan to exact revenge on the one who broke the bucket and then lied about it. This is the MNK way, to pay back evil at least two fold. Pray that the MNK will seek God’s grace and mercy in their own lives, and allow Him to administer justice.
Tue, Jan 13: But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. – Matthew 7:26 The women’s new house is really nice. The foundation is strong; the walls are strong; the roof is made out of good corrugate. Everyone who comes admires the workmanship, as well as the money put into its construction. But the front porch was just some mud piled up with a very small veneer of cement plastered on top. It looks nice now, but wait until the first rains come. Excuses galore will be offered as to why the porch didn’t last…the cement was no good…the rains were too hard…there was too much sand. But the sad truth is, it was poorly constructed. Bakary and the other men in his village have heard about the Way of Righteousness, but they are afraid to make a decision that goes against their “culture”. Pray that the MNK who have the opportunity to hear the Truth will hold on to it, irregardless of what their society tells them.
Wed, Jan 14: How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him. – 1 Kings 18:21 A group of elders has just finished listening to the history of the prophets, as told in God’s Word. They acknowledge that these stories are true. They acknowledge that what Scripture teaches about Jesus is true. A Qur’anic teacher tells them yet more stories, which he says have been left out of the Bible. They believe these stories as well. Pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to the MNK that there is but one source of Truth.
Thu, Jan 15: I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4 Lamin was talking with his friends yesterday about the stories they’ve been listening to on the radio. They are somewhat different from what they remember from childhood, but they seem true…still, they aren’t the traditional versions. To accept these would be to go against Lamin’s heritage and his ancestry. As he struggles with these thoughts he remembers a verse the Toubab told him: he delivered me from all my fears. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open the ears, eyes, and hearts of those who hear Scripture to its truth.
Fri, Jan 16: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 The boys want to have a party in the neighboring village tomorrow night. They’ve been working hard around the village, fixing roofs, repairing the road, etc. They have come to Bakary to ask permission. He agrees, but not without strenuously warning them about the things they must avoid: marijuana, alcohol, etc. “Who, us?” is the response, but Bakary knows the temptations young men face. Yet he doesn’t worry too much, since they are just boys, and not as yet accountable before God. Pray for young MNK men to see their need to follow God, whose desire for them is so much more than they can possibly imagine!
Sat, Jan 17: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. -- James 1:13 During the public announcements on the radio this morning, the death of a friend’s child was publicized. The conversation in the women’s house now revolves around whether or not this woman had done something wrong, whether or not someone had placed a spell on the child, whether or not God was trying to determine what the family believed, etc. “It was God’s will,” is the prevailing sentiment. Pray that the MNK will see that God is Good, not evil, even in times of bereavement.
Sun, Jan 18: For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. – Psalm 1:6 Election days across West Africa are interesting to watch. Multiple candidates, all vying for the same office, make a multiplicity of promises. But every candidate faces the same reality of a country with few natural resources, an increasing population, an increasing international debt, and a poor economy. Pray for the God of Peace to reign during national elections in the countries where the MNK live; pray that God will reveal Himself to the politicians and general populace alike.
Mon, Jan 19: Nothing impure will ever enter [the Holy City], nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. -- Revelation 21:27 At every MNK funeral a loose-leaf version of the Qur’an is passed out among the people and read out loud. About half of all MNK adults can read Arabic, but very few actually understand the language. It is not the meaning of the words that is important, but rather the recitation, the sound of the words on the wind, in which there is power. At the end of the day, an accounting of the number of verses read is made, as well as the number of times they were read. If the readings were adequate, they will help the dead person into heaven. If there are too many, the extra may be added to one who didn’t have enough at his/her funeral. Pray for the MNK to desire to have a clean spirit, and to have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life, rather than focusing on empty words being spoken at their funeral.
Tue, Jan 20: You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. – Genesis 2:17 Fatou has heard this story since she was a small child; now she tells it to the other wives’ children. God did not allow Adam to swallow that apple; instead, he sent an angel who stuck his hand down Adam’s throat and grabbed it…hence the Adam’s apple on men. So, Adam didn’t really sin; and even if he had, God would have forgiven him. Since God created Adam able to sin, committing a sin wasn’t really Adam’s fault! Pray for the Truth to be declared clearly among the MNK, so that all may understand their position before God: forgiven or not.
Wed, Jan 21: Does God speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? – Numbers 23:19 It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and Bakary has just finished lunch. He worked hard in the bush this morning, collecting grass to make a new thatch roof for his house. He has decided to rest in the compound this afternoon. But the children are running and screaming and fighting and laughing and generally making noise! He threatens them with punishment if they don’t stop! So, like children everywhere, they are quiet for a couple of minutes before they start up again. What about God? Does God carry through with His promises? Bakary ponders this thought. Pray for the MNK to see God as Upright and Consistent.
Thu, Jan 22: No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. – 1 Corinthians 2:9 It’s simply too much for the women to grasp…that God could love them the same way He loves men. The Islamic idea of paradise (heaven) is an attractive concept to men, but it doesn’t hold much for women. Yet, the talk the women hear of heaven on the radio, while being ridiculed by the men, sounds wonderful to the women, nearly too good to be true. Pray for MNK to recognize that God’s desire for a personal relationship with individual human beings is in no way restricted by age, sex or ethnicity.
Fri, Jan 23: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. – Psalm 19:1 As Binta got up this morning, she saw the sun trying to peek through the dust in the air. The dust cover reminds her of clouds, but rain never comes this time of year. She remembers a story she heard from her friend last week about a rainbow. Something about the Prophet Nuha (Noah) and the destruction of the earth, but she can’t remember the details. What puzzles her is knowing this is not the same story she remembers from her childhood. Pray that Binta and other MNKs will learn the truth about the Prophets of the Old Testament, and that they will see God’s faithfulness and reliability.
Sat, Jan 24: I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. – Deuteronomy 32:41 Whew! That TV show was exciting last night. The two sisters took a belt and whipped the woman who had beaten their mother years ago. They had repaid evil and they felt good! Every member of Bakary’s household was glued to the TV, and all shouted and cheered as revenge was administered. Every MNK knows the proverb, if you make me eat blood, I will make you eat worse. Muslims have a heritage of avenging God; it is one sure way to heaven. Pray that Bakary’s family will understand that God doesn’t need our help; as Creator He is able to avenge Himself. His desire for us is to worship and love Him, remembering our place in creation.
Sun, Jan 25: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. -- John 1:1-2 Many MNK children attend Qur’anic classes daily. They learn by rote specific prayers and verses from the Qur’an. But they have no idea what they are saying…everything is in Arabic, which they don’t understand. But in the evening they listen as the elders discuss Islamic beliefs. Since few people understand Arabic, everything they know about the Qur’an is from someone else. They believe the Bible has been corrupted; it cannot be trusted. Very few MNKs have read either the Qur’an or the Bible for themselves. Pray that as the Word of God spreads among the MNK, they will hear it and hold it as Truth.
Mon, Jan 26: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. -- Psalm 100:1-2 The young men of the village begin shouting joyfully as the drumming sounds. Excited voices break into triumphant song and the earth shakes with dancing feet. Smiles are everywhere as the refrain rings in the air: the national soccer team has just won an important game! MNKs are willing to shout for joy and sing about something as trivial as a soccer game, but they are not free to do so for God. Such emotional behavior is not associated with religion. Pray that the MNK will come to understand that it is right and fitting to worship the True God with vigor and excitement!
Tue, Jan 27: A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light. -- John 11:9-10 “It’s not my fault!” What a universal expression! Every human being has said it at one time or another to relieve himself of guilt. Yet, today it was Bakary’s fault. He chose to lie. But the MNK have worked out a way to get around personal accountability. Each person has one angel who sits on the right shoulder and one who sits on the left. When you do something good, the good angel writes it down. When you do something bad, the other angel writes it down. But if you can correct the infraction or say “sorry” before it is written down, it won’t be counted against you. Pray for the MNK to understand they are walking in darkness, yet the Light is available.
Wed, Jan 28: Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. – Isaiah 55:6 As Lamin ages, he has more and more vivid dreams. Sometimes he hear voices; sometimes he sees things that frighten him; often his dreams involve “the prophet Jesus”. His family says he’s just old, he’s not in his right mind. But Lamin spoke to a follower of Jesus who told him perhaps God was preparing him for death. Pray for Lamin that he will recognize that God is seeking after him pray that he will find Him before it is too late.
Thu, Jan 29: You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers. – Genesis 16: 11-12 It is not viewed as politically correct to state what the Bible teaches about Ishmael. Muslims believe that he was the son Abraham took up on the mountain to offer as a sacrifice to God; the Qur’an is not specific. Yet Scripture is clear as to why there is such hostility in the world today between Arabs, Jews and Christians. Pray for the MNK to recognize that Isaac was the true son of promise to Abraham, and that God is the God of Peace, Promise and Faithfulness.
Fri, Jan 30: With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. – James 3:9 Kadi and Bakary have had a terrible fight. It was mostly verbal, but it was ugly. Curses, insults, and slanderous comments flew back and forth. Now it is prayer time. Kadi covers her head and goes through the ritualistic prayers for the evening; afterwards, she comes to Bakary and curtsies to him, showing him respect. Neither have forgotten the words said earlier; yet neither has regret. People everywhere allow their tongue to cause tremendous hurt. Pray that as the MNK are exposed more and more to the Truth, they will see their need for repentance, not just towards one another, but towards God.
Sat, Jan 31: But I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. – Psalm 89:33-34 Faithfulness. How can someone you can’t see, can’t hear, can’t know, can’t communicate with, be faithful? After all, how many faithful friends do you have in life? This concept is something very tough for Bakary to deal with…as a young child, he was taught to trust very few people, including his mother and future wives. Pray that as MNKs come to understand more about God, His unchanging faithfulness and trustworthiness will become crystal clear.