Entrust Equipping Leaders
What might we learn from Serbian believers about prayer?
February 3, 2023
How might the when, where, why, what and how of our prayers be influenced by young Serbs?
Guest Lynn Blase. Lynn and her husband, Jim, serve with Entrust in Serbia, among Serbian and Roma Christians. Most of these Christians are relatively young in their faith. But oh, how they pray! Lynn describes some of the ways her Serbian and Roma brothers and sisters pray, along with some of her own understandings of personal and corporate prayer.

Lynn's Entrust Equipping Leaders article https://www.entrust4.org/post/let-s-pray-now-how-when-where-and-what-we-pray

Entrust https://www.entrust4.org

Speaker Name  | Start Time  | Text
Todd (intro/outro)  | 00;00;10;20  | How are you doing in your prayer life? On today's episode of Entrust Equipping Leaders, we get in on some great examples about prayer from Christians living in Serbia. Our host Laurie Lind chats with Entrust staff member Lynn Blase about some of the whens, wheres, hows and whys of prayer that she's learned from Roma and Serbian Christians.
Laurie Lind  | 00;00;43;08  | I’d love to open this podcast episode with a story from you if you have one.
Lynn Blase  | 00;00;48;19  | I have a great prayer story. It's it's an ongoing one.
Lynn Blase  | 00;00;56;18  | We're connected with a number of churches here, but there's a really little church in our city of Novi Sad that meets on Saturday evenings. And when Jim and I are not busy doing other ministry work at other churches, we like to attend this little church. We just love the pastor. And when I say the church is, little on a good night, there's maybe 20 people there, but it's a church that has a lot of broken people, a high percentage.
Lynn Blase  | 00;01;34;19  | Now, you might think, well, we're all broken. I agree we are. But these are folks who on a daily basis deal with really big struggles in their lives. Some people are not believers. But every Saturday night, they gather together because of drag on the pastor. He is such a good shepherd. He loves his people. And a few weeks ago, he was reading Nehemiah and he says that God was asking him to begin a 52 day prayer journey for the whole church, inviting everyone at the church to attend.
Lynn Blase  | 00;02;21;07  | So every morning, from 8 to 9, anyone who can can gather either in person or online and pray. And we're not even halfway through the 52 days. But the goal of the prayer was to see God tear down some of the dividing walls in the church and in just a few weeks, we have seen God do amazing things in many lines in this church.
Lynn Blase  | 00;02;55;23  | And so it's been just a real blessing for Jim and me. And it just really honed in again for me, the importance of corporate prayer. Then the body of Christ in the West. It is, in my opinion, to neglect it. It's not a priority in most churches. My experience is the churches in the East, oh, they do corporate prayer really well and perhaps that's why churches are growing in the East and in the West.
Lynn Blase  | 00;03;35;19  | Churches are really struggling. I just really love corporate prayer. I see it as such a gift from God and I would love to see more Western churches make it a priority.
Laurie Lind  | 00;03;51;17  | And when he said praying about the barriers or the divisions in the church, does he mean that one little church or does he mean the the church universal?
Lynn Blase  | 00;04;01;04  | Initially, it was for this little church. However, you know, our prayers extend to all of Serbia and beyond. And we pray for the church.
Laurie Lind  | 00;04;14;22  | Wow. And also to clarify, when you say east and west, what are your definitions of those two words?
Lynn Blase  | 00;04;23;09  | Okay, West, North America, South America, Europe, East Asia. This past spring, Jim met a pastor from South Korea and he was sharing that in South Korea. Now there's so many Christian, so many very large churches and that his church, they wanted to somehow bless churches in the West because it was Western missionaries who first brought the gospel to Korea.
Lynn Blase  | 00;04;58;24  | Hmm. So they talked about. Well, maybe we could send missionaries to the churches in the West. But the made up boy. I mean, our people would have to learn the language and learn the culture. Might really not be the best way for us to invest in Western churches. And they especially wanted to connect with Western churches that were really struggling or were new church plants.
Lynn Blase  | 00;05;26;17  | What they decided to do was to offer corporate prayer for churches in the West. They have people in their church who get up at 5 a.m. every morning and they're there. And people are given a specific church in the West for which to pray. They commit to praying. I can't remember if it's an hour. I think it's 2 hours from 5 to 7 every morning for that church.
Lynn Blase  | 00;05;58;13  | And he said what they have seen happen in these churches is phenomenal.
Laurie Lind  | 00;06;05;14  | So now when he says a specific church that makes like like First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, like that specific a certain congregation.
Lynn Blase  | 00;06;15;25  | That specific they I don't know how they get connected with these churches in Europe, but somehow they do and they form this close relationship and commit to praying.
Laurie Lind  | 00;06;30;06  | My goodness. What a lesson for us.
Lynn Blase  | 00;06;33;12  | Absolutely. Absolutely.
Laurie Lind  | 00;06;35;26  | So speaking of learning, let's learn about you and your ministry and what you're learning about prayer in Serbia, where you live. I think we'll start reading by referring to the article that you wrote about prayer and you kind of really did a great job of breaking it down into the kind of the how where, when, and what we pray.
Laurie Lind  | 00;06;57;23  | What is your thinking about why we pray, especially as trainers of Christian leaders?
Lynn Blase  | 00;07;06;07  | Well, my first thought is because I need to since moving here to Serbia a little over four years ago, we have been in so many situations where we are in over our heads and we simply don't know what to do. And so we have to go to our knees. And that's really good. It drives us to our knees to bring everything before the Lord and to wait on him to direct us.
Lynn Blase  | 00;07;37;04  | But I don't want my reason for praying to be just about me. I also want to pray because I believe it delights the Lord when we come to Him in prayer. We're acknowledging our dependance on Him, our need for him, acknowledging his omniscience and omnipresent and just how mighty and loving a God He has. I believe that when I pray to God, I'm blessing God and I really want to do more of that in my life.
Laurie Lind  | 00;08;15;04  | Yeah, that's a concept that was new to me a few years ago. We always pray God bless me or bless my friend or but that we in turn are even invited to bless God.
Lynn Blase  | 00;08;26;24  | Yeah, it's.
Laurie Lind  | 00;08;27;11  | Quite amazing, actually.
Lynn Blase  | 00;08;30;24  | Yes.
Laurie Lind  | 00;08;31;09  | So in terms of praying, then, in the article that you wrote, first you describe some of the how we pray. And you talked about something you had learned pretty early on in your time in Serbia about how they pray. Can you describe that for us here?
Lynn Blase  | 00;08;47;18  | Sure. Yeah. Actually, the first week we landed here, we started attending an early Tuesday morning corporate prayer gathering at a church. And my first time praying with Serbians. And what struck me right away was how when one person finished praying. Another person immediately took up the prayer immediately. There was no hesitation. There was no silence for 5 seconds.
Lynn Blase  | 00;09;24;07  | Like we're so accustomed to in the West. Or at least I'm accustomed to. And I didn't know when to jump in and and what the other thing that amazed me was like, you know, sometimes when we're praying and how corporately to, people will start praying once. And then there's this, oh, you know, you go first. And yeah, they never had two people starting to pray at the same time, whatever it was to me, it was like this smooth flow of the spirit in this time of prayer.
Lynn Blase  | 00;10;02;20  | And and probably those words aren't even adequate to describe what I was seeing and hearing and sensing. To me it was really such a thing of beauty that they just were so in tune with one another.
Laurie Lind  | 00;10;18;29  | You know, there is the other side where people talk about silent prayer or listening prayer or do the do the Serbians that, you know, practice that as well? Or are they comfortable with silence occasionally in prayer times?
Lynn Blase  | 00;10;33;27  | I have not experienced that in corporate prayer here, but I'll be honest, I've rarely experienced it in the West either. So and I know when Jim and I pray, we do like to have that time of silent prayer, because we'd like to hear again, have the spirit, direct our prayers. And we just feel that we need to just be silent for a little bit and see what is leading us to saying.
Laurie Lind  | 00;11;12;09  | There's a good lesson for us, though, in corporate prayer from your Serbian brothers and sisters, though, that somehow so in tune with the Lord's as he prays, Spirit prays through us. The scriptures say you've actually seen that happening there. Love it. What about the the concept of where to pray? You went into that in your article as well.
Laurie Lind  | 00;11;34;21  | And again, you had a good story left for you to tell that one.
Lynn Blase  | 00;11;38;27  | Yes. So here again, this was a new idea presented to me here in Serbia. Again, the church, one of the churches that we attend regularly, they have a balcony in their church. And when they have events, people who are not a part of the event will come and sit up in the balcony and pray over this event and the event then takes place down on the main floor of the sanctuary.
Lynn Blase  | 00;12;11;00  | And I thought, what a brilliant idea. And I had no doubt in my church and in the U.S., why didn't any of us ever think of this? Because we had a balcony in our church. But I just love that idea. And the Christians who are down below on the main floor hosting the event must find it to be just such a source of encouragement and comfort and a strengthening.
Lynn Blase  | 00;12;48;27  | To know that there are people up above in the balcony just lifting up them. And this and that to the Lord.
Laurie Lind  | 00;12;57;15  | And is that group praying throughout the entire event that yes, that's his finish? They keep going.
Lynn Blase  | 00;13;04;13  | They do well. And if the event is weekly, such as an alpha course, which the church presents offers twice a year, they come every week. Wow. We have of course.
Laurie Lind  | 00;13;17;21  | That's not just an occasional thing. It's a very regular thing.
Lynn Blase  | 00;13;22;20  | Yes, they're committed to praying. And I have to say that, you know, I've experienced alpha in the U.S. in the past, but there are a number of people who become Christians in every course of alpha that's offered. Now, can I say it's because of these people praying? I don't know. But I my my feeling is, why not pray?
Laurie Lind  | 00;13;53;16  | Yeah. What do you sense God does with that, with that fact of those people literally praying on site and simultaneously with an event like that? To me.
Lynn Blase  | 00;14;03;25  | It's almost like a symphony being offered up to God. You had the people praying and you had the Christians down below in the sanctuary who are teaching or preaching or whatever is happening. And I just think what a what a beautiful combination of the bride of Christ coming together. I just believe that God loves this. I think it also sends the message that if we're not trusting in ourselves when we're doing the teaching or the preaching or whatever is going on.
Lynn Blase  | 00;14;41;24  | We're not trusting in ourselves. We're trusting in God who's hearing the prayers of the faithful ones up in the balcony.
Laurie Lind  | 00;14;50;14  | Even perhaps. Do you think that the enemy, the spiritual warfare and praying that showing spiritual forces that we need business here and the enemy cannot come in, he probably would flee because there was so much prayer going on.
Lynn Blase  | 00;15;06;11  | Yeah. Yeah. And he can find no place to steal, kill or destroy. 
Laurie Lind  | 00;15;12;00  | Right, right. If we're forming that hedge, we talk about which is lifting up the name of God. That's a good barrier and a good protection for all the spiritual work going on at events such as that.
Lynn Blase  | 00;15;26;10  | Yes.
Laurie Lind  | 00;15;27;08  | In your article, though, you said shortly thereafter or sometime later, you and Jim held an event or something happened when you didn't have people praying throughout you’re the time. Have you since done something where you did have people praying on site while you did whatever you do?
Lynn Blase  | 00;15;45;19  | No, we have not held another event. But the next time, trust me, I'm going to have the prayer team. Wherever the event is held. I'm going to ask people, even if they cannot be there on site. I think being on site is the best, but even if they cannot be on site, just pray. Just pray during this time.
Laurie Lind  | 00;16;08;23  | So that's a little bit of the where and the when. I like the idea of where and the when.  If we go further into the idea of when. What are some things you're learning about when we might pray?
Lynn Blase  | 00;16;22;16  | Yeah. So here again, I think we Westerners are kind of trained to put put off prayer. You know, if someone is sharing a something with me and they'd like prayer, we often say, okay, I'll pray for you about that. And I just thought, why don't we just say, let's pray now? I can think of no reason to delay praying.
Lynn Blase  | 00;16;55;12  | Let's pray now. And if I remember, I'll pray again later. But at least we have it covered now. And I think the person who is wanting the prayer would find that to be here again, encouraging strength and strengthening. Just a real blessing that someone is taking the time now just to stop. And that's prayer in. I really think it comes down to a mindset.
Lynn Blase  | 00;17;24;19  | It's I, I honestly believe Christians would want to do that, but we just don't even trained ourselves to do that. And so I think we need to be, you know, conscious about changing our mindset.
Laurie Lind  | 00;17;41;13  | And then, you know, there's that concept of pray without ceasing, which we always hear mentioned in the Bible. And then let's talk about, well, how does that even how does that work? What's what's your thinking about prayer without ceasing?
Lynn Blase  | 00;17;57;06  | And in for many years, I saw that as a admonition to go throughout the day thinking about the Lord as much as possible, all listening for the Lord talking with him, just having a mindset on him. But something happened last fall that kind of gave me another view of pray without ceasing. Jim and I were over at some friend's house and the husband was talking about a friend of his that he had been praying for every day for two years.
Lynn Blase  | 00;18;44;09  | This friend is not a believer. And he said it after two years. My friend is still not a believer and I don't see him getting any closer to God than he was two years ago. And so our friend said. So I stopped crying. I don't know what to pray anymore. I just feel like I'm praying the same thing over and over and over again.
Lynn Blase  | 00;19;06;28  | So we encouraged him, first of all, not to stop praying. And secondly, pray Scripture. You'll never run out of prayers if you pray Scripture for this person. And I started to think, you know, that also to me means pray without ceasing. Don't give up. Persevere.
Laurie Lind  | 00;19;31;23  | Well, what about finally? Then we get to the what shall we pray? And you just mentioned praise scripture.
Lynn Blase  | 00;19;38;29  | What are other.
Laurie Lind  | 00;19;39;18  | Thoughts you have or what have you learned from Serbian friends or others about the the what, the how now, what, how what what is the content of our prayers?
Lynn Blase  | 00;19;49;18  | I would say that's been a big thing for us since in the past few years here is to just be more aware of what we're praying. We just tend to fall into the praying for the physical needs and forgetting to pray for the spiritual needs and not and we should praying for the physical need. Where else are we going to go if we need a job?
Lynn Blase  | 00;20;23;27  | I mean, to whom else am I going to pray except to God for help with the job, or if I'm sick or something of that nature? But it's so easy for us to pray the physical and kind of neglect this spiritual. And I mentioned in the article that I think I mentioned I had read a book this past year by Dear Carson Praying with Paul and he was like, just due to Paul's prayers in the New Testament.
Lynn Blase  | 00;21;04;01  | And I went through them to look for the occurrences where Paul prays for something physical and only I think it was three of the prayers. Could I find something that Paul talks about? The physical, everything else is spiritual and which when really, when you think about it, the physical one day will burn up. The spiritual lasts forever. And often times the physical comes about because there's been a spiritual change.
Lynn Blase  | 00;21;46;16  | And what what I mean by that, I'll give you an example. There's a church here who almost every Sunday prays for a decrease or even a removal of the corruption here in Serbia. There's a lot of corruption in this country, and it begins at the top of the government. But they always ask for the physical side of that and not the spiritual.
Lynn Blase  | 00;22;12;18  | They don't ask God to bring salvation to those who are so corrupt. And my belief is that if people do sow the seeds of corruption became Christians, then the corruption is obviously going to decrease. In my mind. The goal is to see salvation come to people more so than to see the corruption decrease.
Laurie Lind  | 00;22;42;25  | You know, a lot of people talk about prayer meetings that are organ recitals. What are some things you've learned about how to kind of veer away from that kind of a prayer meeting.
Lynn Blase  | 00;22;53;19  | Or query.
Laurie Lind  | 00;22;54;05  | Requests?
Lynn Blase  | 00;22;55;18  | Yeah. If someone asks for prayer for grandma's kidney stones. Yes, I'm happy to pray for grandma's kidney stone. But I will also try to pray something spiritual for grandma in the prayer.
Lynn Blase  | 00;23;16;07  | And here again, I think it's a change in mindset. The more we try to input spiritual prayers in every alongside every physical prayer, I think then the more our minds will turn to the spiritual. And here again, I find praying scripture really helps me pray. The spiritual for people. You know, and I believe that often times we pray the way that we were mentored to pray when we were new Christians.
Lynn Blase  | 00;23;58;03  | So I think that it's going to take time and practice and perhaps even baby steps again to change this mindset.
Laurie Lind  | 00;24;10;02  | And as you and Jim are investing in in churches and church leaders, maybe an aspect of what your training is, maybe you're all learning together new, thinking about how to pray. To some extent. I mean, I think they're teaching you some things, it sounds like, and maybe vice versa.
Lynn Blase  | 00;24;27;02  | Absolutely. That and that's the beauty of being in the body of Christ and not neglecting meeting together because we do learn from each other. I have learned about prayer just by listening to other people's prayers. Sometimes I'll hear someone pray something and think, Oh, well, I've never thought to pray that. So, yes, I think that prayer is an ongoing growth, or I should say an ongoing, growing opportunity.
Lynn Blase  | 00;25;04;07  | And we do need each other. I mean, for instance, this the South Korean pastor, I never thought to partner with a specific church that was struggling and pray, pray, pray.
Todd (intro/outro)  | 00;25;21;25  | What did you learn from Lynn today that you might apply to your own prayer life? Lynn shared her insights not only during this podcast, but also in an Entrust Equipping Leaders article called “Let’s Pray Now,” which you can find on our website. We've got links to our site and to Lynn's article in today's show notes. Would you do us the honor of writing a review of this podcast and share it with a friend?
Todd (intro/outro)  | 00;25;48;13  | And if you missed the previous episode with Anne Graham Lotz about prayer, be sure to go back and listen. Thanks for listening. Keep on praying and we'll see you next time on Entrust. Equipping Leaders.