By Iva Jovović, Guest Blogger*
In Croatia, the criminalization of sex work creates an unjust and gendered relationship between those engaging in the industry and the state. Sex workers, who are primarily female, face prosecution that often includes fines and jail time. In contrast, their customers rarely encounter consequences, unless they engage in sex with minors or victims of sexual exploitation. Living in a strict, conservative, and predominantly Catholic society, makes issues such as sex work and related terms a taboo subject within public and private conversations. The industry itself remains largely underground; women hide in the dark and buyers in cars. To most, sex workers are simply invisible. Due to this hostile environment, little research has previously been conducted on the sex industry in Zagreb—until now. Our organization, FLIGHT, implemented the first research project on sex workers and their clients, asking them why they got engaged with sex work, why they buy sex services, and their personal opinion on legislation. We also asked should sex work be legalized and should buyers be criminalized. Interviews were conducted from the end of March through May 2018, in public spaces, private, and offices of the respondents. In all, 15 female sex workers and 30 male buyers participated in the study.
Many pathways lead women to enter the sex industry, but poverty is a primary factor. Within Croatian society, sex work is perceived in a negative light, but our findings showed women were more concerned with the stigma around being poor. The women interviewed said they engaged in sex work because they are without a job and have huge debts. Many women indicated a lack of other employment opportunities and the need to take care of children. They needed the money and had few alternative options. One woman specifically needed to buy drugs, and others had no place to stay after residential care or moving away from a violent partner. Although social inclusion is a cornerstone of religious beliefs, the stigma of poverty overshadowed the stigma of being a sex worker. These results conflicted with expectations of a Catholic country with conservative and patriarchal structures.
People close to an individual can also play a significant role in influencing one to enter the industry. In six of the fifteen cases, a close friend (5) or a partner (1) persuaded the women to engage in sex work. Two women found themselves within the organized sex industry after visiting a party or responding to a modelling ad. Only two women independently decided to start with sex work after having various sexual experiences.
On the opposing side of the relationship, there are two main reasons why buyers engage in sex work: compensation and hedonism. A little more than half said they felt it compensated for a void in their life. Some of the examples provided include being single, lacking success with intimate relationships, marital issues, or having no time or desire for emotional commitment. Many of these men see their interactions with sex workers as a sort of intimate relationship involving spending private time together. The remaining men in our study said their primary motivation was hedonistic in nature. They were enticed by a sense of fun, pleasure, satisfaction, fulfillment of sexual desires, excitement, or curiosity.
Sex workers are aware of and face many risks in their job. Sex workers can face aggression from clients and pimps, as well as a risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. Thus, 80 percent of those we interviewed expressed concern about their personal safety. The majority of their fear is connected to physical and financial issues. The women shared a concern about violent clients that may not want to pay. In addition, they feared being poor, especially as they become older. The lower socio-economic status can exacerbate their vulnerability to other crimes and being exploited. However, they are aware that sex work is not a lifelong solution and eight respondents (53%) showed concern about lack of money, lack of perspective, and lack of solutions for their retirement age: ˝I am afraid because of everything: if someone recognises me, of violent clients, of other sex workers because relations are disastrous. Of getting old, sickness…˝ Other sources of their concern are disease, prison, fear that someone would recognise them, fear from other sex workers, and unwillingness to continue with sex work in certain situations.
It is significant to mention that all respondents (100%) said that they have some concern about their health. These worries are connected with having no health insurance, feeling shame in front of medical staff, having other physical diseases, and having mental health problems connected with lack of perspective, anxiety and hostility toward their job. From our respondents, ten sex workers have medical insurance, but five do not.
It is these fears and concerns that sex workers feel the legalization of sex work would help address. The majority of the women interviewed believe it would improve working conditions, social rights, access to health insurance, and protection. One such example would be by reframing their relationship with police and clients. Some of the women interviewed relayed stories of police chasing, verbally harassing, and arresting them. Clients also engage in degrading behavior, including insulting the women and calling them worthless. In addition, five sex workers stressed how legal measures could ensure fair and loyal competition on the market, balanced prices, and protection of domestic sex workers from foreigners. They also suggested additional measures, such as providing social rights and combating corruption.
These findings provide clearer insight into the Croatian sex industry and will allow policymakers to more accurately address these issues. It is vital that the voices of sex workers continue to be heard and that laws affecting them are crafted through a worker-informed lens. For the first time, these findings can help alter how Croatian society understands an industry that faces stigmatization and discrimination. In order to provide greater protection for the women involved, we must continue to paint a fuller picture of the entire industry.
*Iva Jovovic holds a MA in Social Work, and has extensive research experience in and knowledge of harm reduction programs and human rights for key populations affected by HIV. The Life Quality Improvement Organization FLIGHT is a member of the Project DESIrE Consortium. FLIGHT has been implementing harm reduction programs since 2003 by providing outreach services to both drug users and sex workers.
** The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the position of the HTC.
Edited by Leah Breevoort, Deputy Director
Photo Credit: Project DESIrE
About the Human Trafficking Center
The Human Trafficking Center, housed in the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, is the only two-year, graduate-level, professional-training degree in human trafficking in the United States. One way graduate students contribute to the study of human trafficking is by publishing research-based blogs. The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy.
Founded in 1964, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies is one of the world’s leading schools for the study of international relations. The School offers degree programs in international affairs and is named in honor of its founder and first dean, Josef Korbel.
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God brings people into our lives in his perfect timing. When a team from our partners at Amazing Grace Life visited Honduras, they made themselves available to the Lord.
Great things happened! Read how author Amy Simmons Crafton shared her book and her heart with Pastor Roman and the children in a Honduran village.
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God has different ways of communicating with us. Some are obvious; some are not. As believers, we need to be available to God so he can use us. We also have to trust him and know he is working behind the scenes for his purposes and plans to be fulfilled. We don’t always know why things happen, but sometimes we can look back and see how God has his hand in every detail.
World Vision hosted the Amazing Grace Life team on our trip to Honduras in September. While there, we were able to see how World Vision is helping tens of thousands of people and transforming entire communities with their programs, which also create sustainable progress for the villages. Each morning I did a devotional that I customized according to our itinerary. I started with a song to clear our heads, focus on the day, and to invite the Holy Spirit to cover us in peace. I prayed for the people we were going to meet and that the Lord would go before us, behind us, and beside us. That he would prepare the hearts of the people we would meet. And that we could bring love, hope, and encouragement to the kids. That we could be “Jesus in skin” to those who need it the most.
Our World Vision trip leader, Johnny, told us we would be going to meet Pastor Roman, who had a small church with dirt floors and a tin roof. The church is in a small village, called Amor Viviente, which means “living love.”
As we came in the back door, Roman was speaking to about 60 children. He stopped and welcomed us. Johnny said to me, “Tell Pastor Roman why you are here.”
So I said, “The Lord has put it on my heart to write this book, Amazing Grace, and get it into the hands of as many people as I can because it’s so important that you, your family, these kids, and their families hear about Jesus and that they realize he loves them and cares for them. They need to ask him into their lives to be their personal Lord and Savior.”
At that moment, Roman’s face lit up! Our eyes connected, and I could tell he knew I had Jesus in my heart and that I know the Lord as my Savior. When Roman looked through the book, he said, “This is like a life vest for us. The kids don’t have Bibles, but now they have the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that booklet will always be [like] their Bible.” Roman began to act out one of the stories in the book. I could tell he has such a gift and a passion for the kids.
I asked him, “Pastor Roman, what is your biggest need?”
He said, “Food.” He started to cry. “I take care of 60 children, and the government only gives us a sack of rice and a sack of beans twice a month. I am their Papa. Most kids don’t have a father. The parents leave for work at 4 a.m. and don’t return home until 9 p.m., so there is no relationship between the children and their parents.”
After we visited, I said to Johnny, “Is there a grocery store around here?” I had not seen anything that looked like a grocery store. He said, “If we drive an hour, I know of a big store.”
We left Roman and told him we’d be back, but we didn’t tell him we were going to bring food. We wanted to surprise him. We filled two trucks full of food, and when he saw all the things we bought, he was overcome with joy. We were overwhelmed with tears. It was an “ah-ha” moment for sure. He broke down crying and praying over the food. Thanking God for all he had done, thanking him for his son, and praising God for being a wonderful God.
He also said, “This is a dream for the children — to see that God is good. This is such a blessing.”
Later that night, Johnny told us that Roman had never had a visitor before us. I know that was a divine appointment orchestrated by God. We showed up, we hugged the kids, and we played with them. We handed out beach balls and soccer balls, and we brought new toothbrushes and toothpaste since they didn’t have their own. But most of all, we brought hope, love, and encouragement to Roman. I thanked him several times for being obedient to God’s call. I told him that we need more people like him! I told him, “When you get to heaven someday, all these kids are going to run up to you and say, ‘Thank you, Pastor Roman, for loving us and telling us about Jesus.’” He cried. Then we cried again.
God brings people into our lives in his perfect timing. We had no idea how important our visit would be to Roman. Nobody had come by to pat him on the back and say, “Thank you for all you are doing for our kids.”
God put us there on that day at that time. We prayed for God’s wisdom and direction. We were available to the Lord, and as a result of that, great things happened. We got to be a part of it. The Holy Spirit was moving not only in his church but in the lives of our team. We got to experience God working in our lives and also in Roman’s. We poured out our love and encouragement into Roman. We “refilled” his heart with joy, love, reassurance, and encouragement. He does that every day with those kids.
It was such a blessing to be a blessing.
Where is God working in your life? Who can you encourage today?
You can make a personal connection with a child who needs hope in Honduras and make a difference in their life. Find a child to sponsor.
This post was originally published at AmazingGrace.Life.
The Amazing Grace Life team has one goal: to meet you where you are and bring you one step closer to God. They minister locally and internationally to bring the love of Jesus Christ into neighborhoods. They are based in Dallas, Texas, with the support of more than a dozen team members.
Like community development and emergency response, advocacy is an essential part of World Vision’s work. As we work alongside communities to build a better world for children, our advocacy work challenges the very policies, systems, practices, and even attitudes that make it difficult for vulnerable children and families to live life — free of violence and poverty.
At a World Vision advocacy event, the Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, author of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World, put it this way: “We need to love as intelligently and effectively as we can. If you can feed one hungry person, you’re loving them well. But when millions are hungry, we can love them effectively by advocating for development.”
Here in the United States, World Vision approaches the government as a partner. Our advocacy team develops strategic relationships with key elected officials who can impact U.S. foreign policy on behalf of children living in extreme poverty.
But we also can’t do it without you.
As voters and constituents, your opinions matter to your elected officials.
Biblical advocacy allows you to see your legislators not as targets, but as fellow humans. You can and lift them up with encouragement before lovingly reminding them that God has called them to be servants of the most vulnerable.
“Advocacy means that we’re speaking on behalf of others,” says Pastor Eugene Cho. “For us as Christians, I feel like this should be something that is really resonant with our worldview, our theology. Jesus is our great Advocate. He represents us; he speaks on our behalf.” (See 1 John 2:1.)
Many of us are exhausted by the political discourse in our country. It’s hard to step into that messy scene and use your voice for change. But that’s why God is your Partner in any advocacy effort—he is with you.
“I don’t really like politics, but I understand that’s just part of how our systems work,” Eugene says. “Politics informs policies, which will ultimately impact people. People really matter to God, and as a result, we have to engage in the political process.”
When you answer his call to speak on behalf of the marginalized and the oppressed, you’ll have the Holy Spirit to encourage and strengthen you during every letter you write, call with your senator’s office, or meeting with your representative.
Scripture is full of stories that exemplify God working alongside advocates. Once you know firsthand the nervousness of planning to meet with a leader — the diligent prayer and preparation that happens before a call or meeting and the peace that comes when your task is finished, regardless of the outcome — these stories of people like Esther, Moses, Daniel, and others become instantly relatable.
Remember that before her noble advocacy, Esther was an orphan living with her cousin, Mordecai, among Jewish exiles. Moses was one of many Hebrew newborn sons ordered to be killed until he was saved by his mother and adopted by the Egyptian royal family. Daniel was one of a group of Israelite youths taken captive to serve a king. They’re all proof that God uses ordinary people (like all of us) to do extraordinary things.
And these extraordinary things come in packages both big and small. You can take simple steps to become an advocate for those around you or write a letter to your representative. Maybe God wants you to take a big step and meet with your congressional representatives. Maybe your meeting with a senator is the one that moves his or her heart toward the issues that affect children living in extreme poverty. It could be a step toward helping children experience better lives around the world — including your own. Or maybe the meeting doesn’t work out like you hope, and it’s a simple reminder for you and your family that speaking up on behalf of others is not only worthwhile, but what God calls us to do.
If secular advocacy is calling on government officials to pay attention to what’s important to you, biblical advocacy is reminding them to do what God has called them to do — since 91 percent of Congress publicly claims faith in Christ.
The Bible is filled with many verses in which God specifically asks us to speak on behalf of those in need.
Verses about God’s heart for advocacy:
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Deuteronomy 16:20 (NIV)
“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Job 5:15-16 (NIV)
“He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.”
Psalm 41:1 (NIV)
“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.”
Psalm 50:6 (NIV)
“And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.”
Isaiah 56:1 (NIV)
“This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.”
Jeremiah 22:3 (NIV)
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
Amos 5:24 (NIV)
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
Zechariah 7:9 (NIV)
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”
Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Luke 11:41 (NIV)
“But now as for what is inside you — be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”
2 Corinthians 8:13-15 (NIV)
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
James 1:27 (NIV)
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
1 John 3:17-18 (NIV)
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Psalm 82:3 (NIV)
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed.”
Proverbs 29:7 (NIV)
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
There are also stories of advocacy throughout the Bible — think of Moses, Daniel, and Esther. To secure the Israelites’ freedom, Moses uses his connection to Pharaoh to speak for the people. Daniel speaks up on behalf of himself, his friends, and his faith when he and his friends are taken from their own people and delivered to King Nebuchadnezzar.
Esther is willing to risk everything to save her people. “… I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). By using her influence with the king to advocate for the Jews, she puts her status as queen, and even her own life, on the line. And it works: King Ahasuerus hears Esther’s pleas. She and her people are saved.
God also calls each of us to be good stewards of our gifts. As Americans, we have the gift of influence with our government. When we steward that gift well, leaders can make decisions that fight the systemic causes of poverty, conflict, and injustice. One determined voice can help change lives around the world — and that voice could belong to you.
It’s like Mordecai says to Esther as she’s considering whether she should advocate for her people: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).
There are 535 men and women who serve as our members of Congress, and these are just some of our country’s leaders. People who are part of our government — whether they’re members of Congress, the president, the Cabinet, the judiciary, or state leaders — are faced with difficult decisions every day in addition to balancing their personal lives with family and friends. Too often, it’s easy to forget about the person behind the political decisions they make. But if we take a moment to remember their humanity, it allows us to see them as a child of God who needs prayer just like you and me. As newly elected officials begin their terms and veterans return to session, join us at World Vision in praying for the leaders in our government.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.—1 Timothy 2:1-4
After praying for our leaders, will you send a note of encouragement to your members of Congress? Nearly 91 percent of Congress claims faith in Christ, so knowing that someone is praying for them and their work would be a blessing to them. And if they’re not believers, it shows your goodwill toward them.
Pray for government leaders and their families.
Your leaders have families and responsibilities outside of work, but they also face some unique challenges. Between splitting their time in their home state and Washington, D.C., and working long hours in the office, many government leaders sacrifice time with their family to serve their constituents. Their families are also more often in the spotlight, causing additional stress. Pray that government leaders and their families would be strengthened by Christ, fulfilled by the time they have together, and supportive and encouraging of one another.
God, thank You for the men and women who serve our country in leadership roles and for their families. Please provide our leaders with reminders each day of why they decided to dedicate their lives to public service, and use that commitment to encourage them. Give them peace when their work takes them away from their families. We also pray specifically for the wives, husbands, and children of our leaders. We ask that You draw near to them and give them the wisdom on how to best support one another while their loved one is away working.
Pray for the staff members of government leaders.
All of our country’s leaders have staff members who are working to answer phones, meet with constituents, respond to messages, and help shape public policy. They work exhausting hours and have many difficult conversations, weighing the needs and desires of constituents. Pray for staff members as they navigate these conversations and respond to people’s concerns so they have the wisdom and stamina to steward the power of the office they represent for good.
We are so grateful for the staff of our leaders, Lord. They have such an important job keeping the offices running as they should. Thank You for the ways You have gifted them to support so well. Wrap your arms around these men and women to show them love, grace, strength, and encouragement. Provide them with the knowledge needed to approach each situation in the best way possible. Help them to know You and see Your presence in the work they do. And, Father, give them the stamina to approach each day and to find a balance between work and life so that they would be sustained.
Pray for relationships leaders have with others.
Our country’s leaders rely on relationships to get their jobs done. Whether it’s a relationship with another leader, constituents, or someone else — relationships are key to solving problems and leading our democracy. But when dealing with politics, it’s easy for tensions to build. Pray that those in authority can approach each relationship they have with kindness and an attitude of openness. Ask God to guide their conversations with Christ-like love and humility.
Father, we are so grateful to be living in a democracy where many play a part in making sure the needs and desires of the nation’s citizens are heard and met. As our leaders work together to find solutions to difficult problems, we ask that You guide them to speak respectfully and with humility to one another. Help them to show Christ-like love to those they interact with and be an advocate for their constituents and others.
Pray for softness in our leaders’ hearts.
Our leaders have a lot of pressing issues to address, and it can be easy for them to forget topics that they feel further removed from or that they don’t hear from their constituents about. But our leaders have the ability to help end global poverty and hunger through policy change. Pray that they would hear from constituents on issues that are impacting the most vulnerable and that they would be moved to action.
Lord, thank You for leaders who care about issues impacting the most vulnerable. We ask that You help all leaders to care for people in need, especially children. Press on the hearts of constituents a desire and drive to reach out to their government leaders on issues surrounding global poverty, and soften leaders’ hearts toward these issues.
Pray that leaders would be courageous in representing their constituents.
Our leaders are juggling their own interests, the interest of many constituents, and sometimes the interest of organizations. It can be hard to find solutions that meet everyone’s wants and needs. Pray that our government leaders represent all of their constituents well and courageously uphold biblical values.
We are so grateful that we have leaders that listen to us. God, please be with our government officials as they weigh the pros and cons of each constituent’s request. Give them wisdom on how to best represent everyone. Father, we also ask that You give our leaders courage so that even when it’s hard, they would continue to boldly represent their constituents’ needs and those of the most vulnerable. Amen.
There is nothing like physical pain to drive you to your knees in prayer. For 20 years, I was plagued by crippling back pain and sciatica. Time after time, I cried out to God for his healing power on my body, but nothing improved. Even as a prayer warrior, I grew weary in going to God about the same thing day in and day out.
One of the hardest challenges of the Christian walk is waiting for God to answer our prayers when we urgently need him to intervene in a circumstance that is breaking our heart, testing our faith, and robbing us of peace and joy. I have been on my knees many times with my Bible in hand, tearfully reminding God of his promises when my husband and I were in a financial crisis, a friend was stricken with a life-threatening disease, or one of my children was in trouble.
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.—Isaiah 40:31 (NASB)
And for years, many of my prayers have been centered on my own need for a miracle. In 2017, after 20 years of pain, I had back surgery to un-pinch my spinal cord, replace deteriorated discs, and straighten my back. The surgery was the answer to my prayers in many ways. I am grateful every day that I can now walk without leg pain and do many of the things I love, like working in my garden, standing long enough to bake cookies with my granddaughter, and traveling to speak for World Vision. However, the trauma to the nerves in my back is taking much longer to heal, and I continue to cry out to God.
Of course, compared to the suffering in many parts of this broken world, my pain is nothing. My heart is often broken by stories about the ongoing hunger crisis in East Africa, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the hatred and violence that seems to be affecting so many. These are problems that only God can solve by changing people’s hearts and minds. But he calls us to participate by giving what we can to those in need and praying without ceasing, because prayer is our greatest weapon against the powers and principalities of this world — that Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:12 — which are at the root of today’s suffering.
Like the healing of my back and other situations my family has faced, some prayers take time to fully materialize. As Psalm 40 says, sometimes we have to wait for God’s timing, and it is not unusual to experience what I call “intercession fatigue” when we are faithful to pray, but nothing seems to be happening. One of the greatest challenges we face as Christians is continuing to believe for a miracle when all indications are “it just ain’t happening.”
So, if you tire as you continue crying out to the Lord, here are a few suggestions that have helped me continue to expect my miracle even when all God seems to be saying is “wait.”
1. Take time to remember how much God loves you and those you are praying for.
God’s love is at the root of all hope and, when we truly love someone, we will do anything for them. This is how God cares for us. Humans are created in his image, which means we get our capacity to love and feel compassion from him. In Matthew 7:9-11, we read that God wants to give us good things. So, we can be confident when we pray that God hears us and wants good things for us, those we love, and for all his creation.
2. Remember all the ways God has been faithful in the past.
Faith is a living expression that grows as we dare to put it into action. So, if we take time to remember all the miraculous ways he has answered our prayers in the past, we will find new courage and hope for the future — and our faith will grow.
3. Pray the Word.
Scripture gives us the authority to claim our miracle whether it is physical healing, reconciliation with a friend or loved one, financial provision, wisdom at work, or even something as seemingly impossible as world peace. Every situation imaginable has an applicable promise in the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is alive and active, so let God’s own words be your argument before his Throne of Grace.
4. Be comfortable not knowing what to pray.
One of my greatest frustrations when I pray is that, while I can identify the problem, I have no idea how to fix it. So, I am uncertain how to pray. That is when I claim Romans 8:26 which says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (NIV). God doesn’t need our words to know our hearts, and he is faithful to answer even our unspoken requests.
5. Invite others to pray with you.
We all have times when we are just too tired or discouraged to keep praying, and we need others to come alongside to support us. Even Moses — who led the Israelites out of Egypt — needed a little help from his friends. Exodus 17 tells us about a time when the Israelites were in a great battle. As long as Moses held up his hands, they won. But when he let them down, they began to lose. Verse 12 tells us how when Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, and they stood beside him and each held up an arm. We all need Aarons and Hurs in our lives. My family prayed for 15 years before we saw a loved one delivered from drug addiction. And I have to say, there were times when I just laid on the floor and let my tears do the talking. I needed trusted friends to pray when I could not. Together we fought the battle and won!
6. Find peace in surrendering to God’s will.
When we feel like we are running on spiritual fumes, and our spiritual life is beginning to sputter, it may be time to give in, not up. Sometimes we are so determined to win the battle we’re facing that we forget to ask God if we are praying in his will. Paul gives us a great example of this kind of spiritual surrender to God’s plan in 2 Corinthians 12:6-8. Three times he prayed about a “thorn in the flesh” that bothered him. God eventually answered, saying that his grace “is sufficient,” and this weakness stayed with the apostle. It brought him to a point of recognizing that God’s power works through our weaknesses. I have to confess that there have been times when I realized that while I was waiting for God to answer my prayers, he was waiting for me to “give in” to his will.
7. Worship God.
Finally, I will end with the best medicine I know to combat intercession fatigue: Rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4, NIV). The journey is just as important as what we’re praying for, so while we wait, we should praise God for who he is and all the good things he has, is, and will do.
Marilee Pierce Dunker travels the world as an ambassador for World Vision, the organization her father, Bob Pierce, founded in 1950. Like he did, she shares stories, pictures, and personal reflections, bearing witness to the extraordinary ways God is using his people to share the gospel and care for the poor.
Visit World Vision’s Speakers Bureau site to request Marilee or another World Vision speaker to present at your upcoming event.
The post Don’t give up on your miracle: How to pray when you’re tired appeared first on World Vision.