Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 3: ITALY Team Prayer Walks!

Today we had our first prayer walk in Bologna. We all met at the Fountain of Neptune, after making our way through a rather large protest that took over the streets in central Bologna, and split off into groups of two. Each of us were given a quadrant of Central Bologna to go prayer walking in. It is safe to say that all of us, and those of you reading this, know that people have been on their knees interceding for us at one point or another. Yet, in Bologna, most every one you meet has never had someone pray, really pray for them. So this was one of our focuses this morning. As we past by people and places, mothers with young children, students, elderly couples, shop keepers and so on we said a prayer for them as the spirit directed us. We also, on my team anyway, stopped into a church or two and near the entrances of shops to pray over those locations and the people who would be entering them. Who knows what Godly forces are being stirred into action for the sake of our prayers.

Each one of us who believes in Christ, believes because He took pity on us. It is an idea we may be uncomfortable with. We like terms like merciful and gracious and both of those are true. But the reality is that we are hopeless without God, and He, in His love, took pity on us and showed us mercy and grace. This was certainly part of my prayer as I walked around the University district. That is, that God would take pity on the people, and particularly the students, of Bologna and use our prayers along with the ministry of David and Nicole and the other missionaries here to bring these people to Christ.

After our prayer walk, still being somewhat jet-lagged and foot-sore some of our group took some time to recoup. David, Kathy, Carrie and I took a walk, about thirty minutes up the stairs, to San Luca. The crazy thing was that, for centuries, pious pilgrims would make the ascent to San Luca on their knees in an effort to, by suffering, please God and draw closer to him. When we reached the top there was a priest giving a prayer, which turned out to be around fifteen minutes long, to Mary. The thing that struck me is that there was no joy, I mean no joy, in the priest reading of the prayer or the response of those who were gathered there. That is to say nothing of the theological issues of the prayer to Mary in the first place. This is the place, though, that God has called David and Nicole to, and it is a place that He wants to reach. Matthew 23:27 has been on my heart allot as I have walked these streets and seen these people. The LIFE that Jesus brings is missing. So pray for the softening of hearts and also that God would put a spirit of spiritual discontentment in the people of Bologna so that they would not be satisfied and want more and begin to seek. For whoever seeks will find and whoever knocks will find a door opened.

We ended our day treating David and Nicole to a fine meal at one of the most famous restaurants in Bologna, Restorante Pappagallo, which was a delight to them and a blessing for us. We came here to help them minister to the people of Bologna, but God has also called us here to minster to and encourage them. We are all unified in our gratefulness for the opportunity on both accounts.

Thank you all for your continued prayers for us and especially for David and Nicole. We feel them and so do they.


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