Last week, in talking about J O Fraser, my final comment was as follows: “Fraser highly valued the prayer support of Christians back home. He wrote that ‘it is God who gives the increase, and this increase can be brought down from heaven by believing prayer, whether offered in China or in England. We are, as it were, God’s agents used by Him to do his work, not ours. We do our part, and then can only look to Him, with others, for His blessing. If this is so, then Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field.’”
I may have had a little hesitation in writing that! I would never like to say anything that would discourage anyone from obeying the Great Commission! Might somebody say “Lord, I'll give you two hours a week praying for the missionaries and then I don't have to go to the mission field!" Yet what Fraser said is so very important.
A wonderful example of that can be found in the ministry of John and Isobel Kuhn who with Fraser worked amongst the Lisu people in Southwest China early in the last century. I wrote in my blog about Isobel in September 2023.
In one village, called “Three Clans Village”, the Kuhns shared the Word of God and reasoned with the people time and time again, but still they did not see a breakthrough for the Gospel. The culture of the village was that each person only had one loyalty, and that was to their own clan, which logically in a “Three Clan” village meant you had no loyalty to two-thirds of the population of the village. “So if one man decided to steal a plot of farmland, his whole clan would have to help him steal it. If any man failed in this loyalty, when his time of legitimate trouble came, he had to face it alone. The clan would not help him.” So for the gospel to break through, first the village culture had to be broken and replaced with kingdom culture.
Then one day, the night before they were due to leave, there was a complete turnaround. As they once again challenged the villagers of Three Clans with the Gospel, one by one the villagers came forward to surrender to Christ. It was a wonderful move of God. Isabel wrote “I myself have never been present at such a scene as God gave us to see that night. Two men who had not spoken civilly to one another for 26 years were among those reconciled.”
Isabel further commented: "That night, after we had returned to our shanty, I said to my husband, ‘John, that was more than your own inspiration. I'm going to note this date down and see – I'm sure someone in the homeland has been very especially praying for us."
Two months later, a letter came from a dear prayer warrior, Mrs K, who lived in a small town in North America. It read something like this: “I must write and tell you what happened today. All morning I could not do my housework, because of the burden on me concerning the Three Clan Village, so finally I went to the telephone and called Mrs. W. She said that she had been feeling the very same way and suggested that we phone Mrs J and all go to prayer. We did so, each in her own kitchen. This morning we spent in intercession for those clans. We feel God has answered. You will know.”
This letter was dated the very day that they had seen that amazing breakthrough in Three Clan Village. God had answered prayer. “I consulted my diary. Night with us is morning with them, it was the very time that we felt the outstanding change. Now these prayer warriors were not seemingly of the earth’s mighty ones. Mrs K was delicate and had a heart condition. Mrs W was expecting a serious operation and Mrs J was going blind. All three were elderly women too frail physically to cross the small town and gather in one place, but each in her own kitchen was joined to the others in spirit, and the strength of that extra intercession, in addition to all the prayer that the other prayer-helpers were sending forth, pushed the battle over the wall."
“It is God who gives the increase, and this increase can be brought down from heaven by believing prayer, whether offered in China or in England” - or anywhere else. Is there a missionary that you know whose work would be “pushed over the wall" if you and others in your church joined in this kind of prayer for them?
“Lord let our generation raise up a multitude of Mrs. K’s and Mrs. W’s and Mrs. J’s.”