Fri, Jul 1: Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7 As Bakary prepares to go to town, he thinks about these words he heard on the radio…blessed are the merciful. “Mercy isn’t that difficult; we always tell one another to forgive and to keep the peace,” he thinks to himself. Yet Bakary knows his own heart. He knows since childhood he has been taught to pay back evil, to defend his name, that mercy is for those weak in body and resolve. Yet why did he hear that if he is merciful, God would show him mercy? Sometimes this is so confusing. Pray for MNKs as they hear more and more Scripture to allow the Truth will permeate their minds and understand the heavenly definition of Mercy: God’s unmerited favor and forgiveness.
Sat, Jul 2: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God. – Matthew 5:9 “Sons of God?” Thoughts run rampant through Bakary’s mind. There go those Christians again, implying that God has children! God never married so how can he have children? Those infidels really have some strange ideas! Bakary’s young sons know all the arguments to refute the claim that Jesus is the Son of God; now they have heard a new one – peacemakers will be called sons of God. Everyone knows God is not interested in peacemakers; as his slaves, we MNK Muslims are commanded to defend him and fight for him on earth! Pray that this truth of God will become personal to the MNK: that God does not need us to fight for Him; rather our responsibility is to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
Sun, Jul 3: Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:10 One of Fatou’s childhood friends has married a man from another tribe. That’s not so bad, but now her friend has left Islam to become a Christian! How can she do that to her family and friends? How can she become a pig-eating, alcohol-drinking heathen, who neither prays nor fasts, and worships three Gods? Pray for Fatou to see the personal relationship with God her friend now has instead of holding to the strong taboos of the do’s and don’ts of Islam.
Mon, Jul 4: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. – John 10:11 Lamin is listening to the radio. “Now there’s a strange saying. Who said that? Jesus? How was Jesus a shepherd? He was a carpenter, not a shepherd. At least that’s what Christians teach. How could he know anything about sheep?” Traditional MNK thought regards Jesus as a type of magician. He spoke from the cradle; he made animals from clay; he did all kinds of things. But he was NOT a shepherd. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open for Lamin the ability to clearly understand the words of Jesus as recorded in Scripture.
Tue, Jul 5: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies. – John 11:25 How can you live even though you die? Kadi has just heard on the radio that her brother has died. Now she hears a car coming to the village to enable her to attend his funeral. Just last night she heard a commercial on the radio that talked about life in death…does this mean her brother could be alive? Kadi’s mind is so confused; it must be the grief. He was so young to die. Who is going to take care of his wife and children? Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable all of us to comprehend those things that are outside of our human understanding, that we will come to grips with spiritual truths.
Wed, Jul 6: Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” – John 3:3 Tonight’s radio broadcast, #69, is entitled You Must Be Born Again. Just as this saying was difficult for Nicodemus to comprehend, so it is difficult for MNKs to grasp its meaning. The key is believing His Good News of salvation. As MNKs listen to this broadcast they are going to be asking the same questions Nicodemus asked. Pray they will be able to hear the answer and accept God at His word.
Thu, Jul 7: And whoever lives in me will never die. Do you believe this? – John 11:26 When Kadi heard this, she was baffled. “Do I believe what?” Kadi is overcome with grief. She just buried her brother; everyone was wailing and crying; people were praying and reading and reciting the Qu’ran. No one had any real hope or knowledge of where her brother is…whether or not he is in heaven…whether or not he is in hell…whether or not he is somewhere in between. And now she hears that Jesus said whoever lives in me will never die… Where is truth? Where is reality? Where is her brother? Pray that Kadi and others who hear the words of Jesus on the radio will find Truth and Hope in them.
Fri, Jul 8: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. – Matthew 5:8 Pure in heart…my heart is pure. I am seeking after God. I am keeping fast. I am not swallowing my spit. I am not smoking during the day. I am not sneaking food. I am doing everything God requires of me. In my own strength, I will get to God. Sali is keeping fast today to “repay” some days she missed during last year’s fast month. Pray for Kadi to appreciate that the One True God is not a God impressed by what she does or doesn’t do; rather He calls us to worship and fellowship with Him.
Sat, Jul 9: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6 If this statement is true, then it stands in direct contradiction to the teachings of Islam. Jesus was a prophet, but not the last one. How can God allow these false teachings to spread? Yesterday in the mosque, Bakary heard all kinds of talk about the claims of Christians, about Jesus equating himself with God. Yet the Qu’ran does teach that Jesus was sinless and did not lie. So, if He didn’t lie, then what about this verse in John? Critical thinking and independent thought are strongly discouraged within this communal MNK society. Pray that Bakary and other men who are trying to listen to God’s voice will have the gift of hearing and believing from the One who hears all.
Sun, Jul 10: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27 There is a young MNK woman who has become a believer. She and her husband in the village where she was born. Her husband is also a believer, but from another tribe. They were kicked out of their rental compound for having worship services in it. They have tried to purchase their own compound, but no one will sell to them. They are being ostracized from the community because of their faith. All she wants is her own compound in which to raise her children and live out her faith. Pray for this family to believe that God will provide all of their needs. Pray for them to be at peace with whatever God does provide. Pray that they will hear these words of Jesus and be completely at rest in His promises.
Mon, Jul 11: I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. – John 10:14 Lamin read these words in Arabic script, but they spoke to him in the MNK language! How exciting to be able to understand what he is reading. But what do these words really mean? Does Jesus talk to animals? Many verses his friend gives him to read imply a knowledge of or relationship with God. Lamin’s understanding of God is that he is too far away, too important, too capricious to know mankind. Pray for the MNK as God’s Word is read and distributed to understand that God is not only knowable, but also desirous of a personal relationship with every human being.
Tue, Jul 12: I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry. – John 6:35 That is an easy verse for Christians; they never keep fast! As the children listen to teachings about fasting by their religious instructor, they begin thinking about whether or not they will keep fast...whether or not God will accept their fast...whether or not they will “cheat”. Now they hear about the bread of life? If they leave Islam does that mean they will never be hungry again? Food is already scarce these days; the crops are planted but the stores are empty. Pray for those who are waiting for the crops to be harvested to be looking to God to supply all their needs, especially the bread of life.
Wed, Jul 13: The Samaritans said, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” – John 4:42 Tonight’s radio broadcast, #70, is entitled The Savior of the World. The teaching centers on two different responses to Jesus’ claim of Messiahship. The first are the Samaritans, outcasts, who accepted Jesus’ teachings. The second are the religious teachers of Nazareth who despised the message. MNKs most probably fit into the second category. Pray for MNKs as they listen to this teaching to realize that without Christ, they are outcasts of heaven; pray they will accept the Truth of the Messiah.
Thu, Jul 14: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. – Matthew 7:13 The boys have been going to the Qu’ranic teacher ever since they were very small. He teaches them many things, but they have never heard about any gates. Then today they saw a piece of paper on the ground in the market that had a picture of a gate on it. When they picked it up they hid it in their pocket until they could find an older boy from the high school who would read it to them. He assumed it was an Islamic teaching because Islam teaches that many people will go down the wrong path. Pray for Scripture distributions to land in the hands of those who are seeking Truth.
Fri, Jul 15: Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. – Matthew 7:14 On the way home last night, the boys went back through the market. And they found another piece of paper that looked like the one they picked up earlier in the day. Someone had taken this pamphlet and torn it up. They couldn’t understand why. Now they are anxious to ask their Qu’ranic teacher if they will be able to find the road that leads to life. But they are taught NOT to ask him questions. That is a sign of disrespect. Perhaps they could ask one of the foreign teachers at the high school. They are scared; they do not desire the rod. Pray that the Holy Spirit will so burden MNKs that they will go against all of their teachings, all of their understandings, all of their relatives, all of their culture, to find the Truth and the narrow road.
Sat, Jul 16: He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. He was assigned a grave with the wicked though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. – Isaiah 53:7,9 Mohammed is revered as a mighty warrior who fought for God, defended God, and turned many (by the sword) to God from paganism. This is respected and imitated by MNKs and other Muslims around the world. But in Christianity there is no talk about Jesus’ victories in battle or his heroic deeds. This is very confusing to Bakary’s children as they learn to respect and admire Mohammed, as well as ancient MNK warriors, who were ferocious in battle. Pray for MNKs to accept prophecies about the Messiah found in Scripture as fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.
Sun, Jul 17: Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:24 But Bakary IS worried. Does this verse mean that he never has to be concerned about anything ever again? That God will take care of everything? Or that difficulties will just take care of themselves? Bakary borrowed a lot of money to plant his fields. How is he going to repay it? He’ll go ask his brother for the money; his brother works for that Toubob in town and he can always get money from him. Pray for Bakary to see his responsibility for his own actions and debts. Pray that God will bless Bakary’s fields with an abundant harvest adequate to repay his debts and take care of his family. Pray that he will give glory and honor to the Living God!
Mon, Jul 18: We look for light, but all is darkness; for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. – Isaiah 59:9 As Binta was coming home from the health center, she felt as if she was walking in deep shadows. Dusk was coming; the baby on her back was crying; she was exhausted after waiting all day for the well-baby injections; she had a two-hour walk in front of her. Why couldn’t she have been born a Toubob? Why couldn’t she be rich? Why couldn’t she have married a wealthy man? Why couldn’t she have a car? Why? Why? Why? The darkness was becoming oppressive and she pondered what the foreign nurse said: “Jesus is the light of the world.” Pray for expatriate Christians as they go about their daily lives among the MNK, as teachers, as nurses, as neighbors, to find ways of sharing the truths of the Gospel succinctly.
Tue, Jul 19: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. – 1 John 5:11 As Lamin ages, he thinks more and more about death. Muslims have no assurance of life after death. MNKs are taught to perform all the pillars required in Islam (praying five times a day, keeping the fast month, giving alms to the poor, reciting the creed <There is one God, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.>, and making the pilgrimage to Mecca if financially able); still God may decide to send them to hell when they die. Or God may leave them out there in limbo somewhere until enough prayers are said on their behalf. Or He may send them to hell for a time and then let them into heaven. Pray for Lamin as he searches for the Truth; pray that he will hear and understand this verse, and believe that the gift of eternal life has been given already through God’s son, Jesus Christ.
Wed, Jul 20: Jesus said, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” – John 5:43,46-47 Tonight’s radio broadcast, #71, is entitled The Authority of Jesus. All of the prophets pointed to Jesus, yet MNKs do not accept Him as the Son of God. They believe what is comfortable about the prophets and leave the hard teachings. Pray as MNKs listen to this lesson tonight, that they might be enthralled by the authority of Jesus and convicted of the Truth found in His teachings.
Thu, Jul 21: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. – John 1:14 The Word. This is another name that Christians use for Jesus. So is Counselor. So is Prince of Peace. So is Wonderful. Sometimes it seems to the boys at school that the foreign teachers are talking about more than one person; there are just too many names; how do they keep them straight? Pray for the MNK, including the youth, to understand that the different names given to Jesus are simply descriptions of His character, and that Christians worship only One God, not three.
Fri, Jul 22: Do not break your oath; simply let your “Yes” be “yes,” and your “No,” “No;” anything beyond this comes from the evil one. – Matthew 5:37 While Binta was in the market this morning she heard two women gossiping. But in their speech, there was a lot of “swearing” to signify that each was telling the truth. On her way home, she heard a man tell a shopkeeper that “if God agrees” he would pay for the bag of rice he was taking home today next week. Many MNK believe that if they “swear” by the Holy Qu’ran or by Mohammed’s name or some other religious icon, they will not be held responsible for the lie or failure to follow through with a commitment. Pray that Binta and other MNK women will be able to break this habit and learn to not only tell the truth, but to be faithful in all things.
Sat, Jul 23: Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11 One very attractive aspect of Islam is that it has prescribed ways of doing every part of your life: marriage, death, baby-naming ceremonies, prayers, fasting, etc. To Bakary’s way of thinking, why would you leave something so comfortable and familiar to hold on to something more nebulous? Christians do not observe a universal fast, they do not all pray in the same manner, there is no prescription for performing a wedding or funeral. Yet, Bakary’s Toubob friend continually admonishes him to look to the Lord and his strength. Pray for Bakary to truly look to the Lord; pray that he will seek the fellowship and relationship with God that is missing in his life over the apparent comfort and stability he sees in Islam.
Sun, Jul 24: Jesus said: All who draw the sword will die by the sword. – Matthew 26:52 Every afternoon, the men stop what they are doing and turn on their radios. They listen to Focus on Africa, a program produced by the BBC. They learn about life in other African nations; they hear about wars, outbreaks of diseases, etc. They hear about sports across the continent, as well as brief world news updates. But as with most news programs, rarely do they hear anything good! Bakary contemplates these words as he considers just how many African leaders have come to power through violent means. Then he considers religions and religious wars. Pray for Bakary and all MNK men to understand that while God is all-powerful, just, and righteous, He is also patient, loving, and forgiving, desiring that none should perish!
Mon, Jul 25: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5 The rainy season is a very hard time of year. Stores of food run out; prices for rice and other goods in the market go up; illnesses like malaria and upper respiratory infections abound but lack of cash makes purchasing medicine nearly impossible. And the Toubob keeps admonishing Bakary and Lamin and Sali and Kadi and others to trust in the Lord. Pray for those of us who live and work among the MNK to be faithful, loving, caring and discerning about our role in supplying physical needs to our friends and neighbors...for indeed, those needs are never-ending!
Tue, Jul 26: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23 Lamin would like the gift of God this week, but he isn’t thinking about eternal life. Rather he’s thinking about a 50-kilo bag of rice that will feed his family for about two weeks. But this bag will cost $22.00 and he hasn’t got it. As he begins his afternoon prayers, he prays for his son to find the money to provide for the family. And he prays that God will send a gift his family’s way. Pray for workers among the MNK to be alert to God’s prompting to visit, pray for, speak God’s truth to any MNK family He puts into our hearts and minds.
Wed, Jul 27: In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power an authority!” – Colossians 2:9,10 Tonight’s radio broadcast, #72, is entitled The Power of Jesus. This lesson is sure to capture people’s attention! MNKs are always asking about Jesus’ power, because Mohammed’s prowess as a raider and as a warrior are well know. Jesus’ power extends beyond the earthly realm; His power can even overcome the spirits that inhabit MNK homes, families and villages. Pray for MNKs to become excited about the veracity of Scripture and the irrefutable power of Jesus.
Thu, Jul 28: Job declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.” – Job 19:25 Though called to this work, missionaries are not above the frustrations and cares of this life. We are concerned for our children and their formal, informal and spiritual education. We are concerned for our aging parents and grandparents. We experience the hurt of being separated from siblings, relatives and our children and grandchildren. Some of us do not yet have a spouse. Yet with Job we declare that our Redeemer lives and in the end will stand upon the earth. Our obedience does not come without a price, but then neither did Jesus’! Pray for those who live and work among the MNK to do so with joy and conviction, aware that God comprehends all of our concerns and frustrations.
Fri, Jul 29: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8 Kadi has been angry with Fatou all day. She has thought about nothing else; it has colored everything she has said and done. In her mid-day prayers she asked God to help her pay Fatou back for the insult laid on Kadi’s mother. It is her responsibility to defend her mother’s name, and therefore her own name. The agitation within her continues to grow. Lunch was not well cooked because of her preoccupation with this matter. Pray for Kadi to allow God the privilege of being God. And pray that all MNKs will allow the Holy Spirit to fill their hearts, minds and thoughts, for when we are focused on the things of God, there is no room for Satan’s lies.
Sat, Jul 30: I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will be any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. – Matthew 5:18 When Binta’s Toubob friend read this verse to her, she was completely surprised. Everyone knows that the Bible has been altered and that it is no longer complete and correct; that is why the Qu’ran was given to Mohammed. Binta wonders how to tell her friend that she is going down the wrong path. She doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Pray for Binta to express her thoughts and concerns honestly to her Toubob friend; pray that workers among the MNK will have the insight and language skills to present God’s Word clearly.
Sun, Jul 31: My word that goes out from my mouth will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11 It’s easy to create Roman script tracts in Mandinka. It’s easy to create Arabic script tracts in Mandinka. It’s easy to purchase Arabic language tracts. But what is difficult is putting a plan in place to constructively distribute Scripture among an illiterate, rural people group. Pray for those of us working among the MNK to find creative ways of distributing God’s Word. It speaks for itself and He Himself has promised that it will accomplish His work. Pray that we will be diligent and faithful.