Thursday, August 7, 2008

The bar

“We started praying that the bar would close,” Harlan confided. Harlan had purchased the seminary building a few years before and, with sweat and muscle from many volunteers, has seen it transformed from a crumbling dump into a functioning, shiny, tiled building.

In Merida, Yucatan, the streets are narrow with the concrete buildings pressed hard against the thin sidewalk. The bar was only a two car widths plus maybe two people widths from the seminary.

The bar disturbed Harlan, because he saw the drunkenness and shattered lives as people staggered out. It was noisy, with broken people sometimes lying on on the sidewalk or singing obscenely to the stars.

The seminary students were disturbed as well and they began praying. One day, Harlan wandered over to have a chat with the owner of the bar. Before the visit was over, the owner of the bar had become a believer.

And he became convinced that a follower of Jesus would not operate a bar. He closed it himself and is now remodeling the place into an apartment. He’s going to church and starting to recruit others as well.

Sometimes we don’t pray for enough. I’m reminded of the believers praying fervently for Peter when he was in jail. Remember how surprised they were when he was released? That’s because they weren’t praying for his release – would you have? – but more likely for strength and protection.

God answered beyond what they prayed. And he did the same for a seminary in the Yucatan.

Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Eph 3:20

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