“We come from different backgrounds and countries and churches, but we worship one God,” Christian Mungai said as he welcomed the energetic audience to the recent inaugural Global Prayer Night at Mariners Church. “It doesn’t matter where you come from. Tonight we are all here because of outreach. Instead of us praying for other countries, we invited other countries here. We are all about building community. Together we can figure out how we can change the world.”
Mungai, global engagement pastor at Mariners, greeted parishioners from the local Christian Arabic Church, the Persian Christian Church, and Lifeline Community Fellowship, a predominately Kenyan church in Buena Park, as they joined with Mariners members to share stories and hear first-hand about individuals, families and churches in crisis around the world.
A key emphasis of the night was the collective prayer for Christians who are persecuted and often imprisoned for their beliefs.
“We still have our families in these countries and we have stories you won’t read in the newspapers,” said Pastor Nabil Abraham from the Arabic Christian Church.
To encourage mixing of the diverse groups, Christian instructed the 180 people to sit at tables according to the month they were born and prepare to introduce one another. Tables were then dismissed to serve themselves from a buffet with food from Arabic, Kenyan and Persian restaurants.
When Mungai asked guests from other countries to stand and say the official greeting from their native country, over 20 nationalities were represented.
“There’s one word that everybody understands in all languages, and that’s Hallelujah!” Christian said. “What a wonderful time ahead for us to worship and pray together. We are all ordinary people passionately in love with Jesus.”
The audience viewed a video in which members from Mariners global church partners around the world sent greetings and a blessing. The eight countries are Egypt, Mexico, Sri Lanka, China, The Congo, Haiti, Kenya and Uganda.
The evening included singing songs in Arabic, English and Farsi. Pastors from each church shared about what Christians in their home countries are subjected to daily.
“We are joining our hearts together in faith knowing God hears, understands and cares,” Pastor Moses Ndereva from Lifeline Church said.
“God is doing something different than we see on the outside where there is looting and persecution, explained Pastor Abraham. “It is bad. We need to pray and ask God to free the Christians from a spirit of fear and to pray for protection.”
“People are sick and tired of religion, they want a relationship with God,” Pastor Jonathan Nazanin of the Persian Christian Church said when it was his turn at the podium. “God is calling us to be part of a movement. The church has no other agenda but to change lives. That starts with someone whose heart has been touched by God. Every single one of us has the opportunity to pass on what we have been given.”
“The gospel is going from everyone to everywhere,” Mungai said as the evening came to a close. “We got a glimpse of what heaven will look like and a reminder that God is good all the time. The fact that we had people from so many different nations is exciting. There is power in unity, and people will know that we are Christians by our love. Realizing how much we are alike, even if we are culturally different, is so important. What is it that we can do together that we can’t do apart?”
For further information, go to marinerschurch.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]