As I've mentioned before, I give at least one grade each day in my five Bible classes, whether it be tests, quizzes, memory verses, analysis, or combinations of the above categories. On each assignment, I encourage our students to add a prayer request at the bottom of the sheets if they have something they'd like for me to pray for. It's a good spiritual outlet for them and it also allows me to get a glimpse into their lives when they trust me enough to share. Yesterday, on a quiz covering Matthew 3, a student left a petition for prayer unlike any I've ever found on a paper. Rebecca is new to WCS this year and one of those kids you just automatically like. She's Canadian, has lived in many different places around the globe, most recently London, and has Chinese heritage through a grandparent. In class on Wednesday, she was double checking our notes about the purification ceremony forty days after Jesus was born by going back to Leviticus where the statute is introduced- I brought up the nobility of the Bereans who searched the scriptures to document the accuracy of what they were being taught. Here was, word for word, what she penned as the addendum to her quiz yesterday:
Prayer Request- my church in China; thanks for the persecution they suffer because it makes them grow.
WOW. Quite a spiritually mature declaration of gratitude from heaven for a young lady not quite fifteen years of age. Most of us would pray to avoid persecution: Rebecca sees the long-term benefit in the mistreatment for her Christian brothers and sisters. I wish I prayed more along those lines instead of rote recitations, like repeating the Pledge Of Allegiance which we do with little thought. Her request brought to mind a wonderful hymn on prayer, which like so many, has fallen into disuse. This is Father, Hear The Prayer We Offer, penned in 1854 by Love Maria Willis: