What I Learned From Praying with an Underground Church Planter

The other night, I had the privilege of praying with a brother who has started a house church network in an African country where the people in his churches can be killed for accepting Christ and becoming part of the church. I hope you’ll understand why I don’t give you many more details.

Our goal was to pray for the brother. We’ve supported him some financially, but we thought that it would encourage him to pray together over the phone.  There are needs that frequently come up, there is constant persecution in many areas, and there are economic realities that make life difficult for anyone, let alone someone trying to plant churches full time. Our brother’s life is not an easy one.

Yet, when we got on the phone, the brother was constantly praising the Lord. He was doing it so much that we felt obligated to join in praising the Lord with him.  When we praised the Lord with him, though, it was different. Our words were a bit more wooden. They didn’t have a natural feel coming out of our mouth, they felt hollow, even forced.

It provoked me a bit. I realized that my brother who lives in persecution and with less than me is better at praising God, though I lead a more comfortable and less stressful life. Why? My guess is my friend from Africa has had to learn how to praise God Himself, and not just praise God when circumstances are good. My friend has learned God is worth praise for who He is, not only for what He does. So he always has praise for God. Me, not so much.

So I’m on this journey, now, of not being a spoiled American. I’m going to start asking God to help me to learn how to praise Him for who He is in addition to what He has done for me. I think it’s an area I need to grow.

How about you?

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash


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About traviskolder

Travis Kolder is a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father of five, an organic church planter, and a writer. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he serves as part of the Cedar Rapids House Church Network.

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