The ABCs of Prayer

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In my first year of serving the Lord in Benin, I did not expect to teach. Yet, French being my native tongue and the language of the people, I began instructing how to read and write in a sewing workshop. I had six students who once attended school but needed to stop because of learning difficulties or because their families needed money.

Last year, one student had more difficulties understanding than others. The girl had gone to school for a couple of years but did not learn. So she was sent to a village to care for a baby, even though she was just a little girl. Afterward, her mother sent her to work in the sewing workshop of a relative.

I decided to teach her privately, hoping she would comprehend better if she learned at her pace. By the middle of the year, though, when I left at the end of my first year of service, she was still unable to say more than a few letters of the alphabet.

When I returned to Benin in the middle of November, I started teaching again. I was glad to find the girl was still involved in the workshop, but after I evaluated her reading and writing levels, I discovered she had regressed.

I talked with the owner of the small workshop, who explained that she tried everything she could think of to teach her, but nothing worked. When the owner asked if I had any advice concerning the girl, I said we would try praying. 

Before the next class, I prayed with the girl; there were no improvements that day. I continued to pray at home. At the start of the second class, I asked her to pray instead, and we began with the alphabet. For the first time, the girl correctly recited not just a few letters but the whole alphabet. She recognized letters in a word and identified the sound of the letters.

I never thought that hearing the alphabet would bring tears of joy to my eyes. I was so proud of her and overwhelmed as I recognized the power of prayer; she had comprehended more that day than in our 30 classes last year. The difference was that she prayed. Although she lives in a Christian home, I believe God may have been waiting on her to pray so He could answer her personally.

Last year, I prayed in general for the classes and for wisdom to teach. However, praying with her before subsequent classes has proven to provide blessings. God hears our prayers. Sometimes the Lord delays His answers to show His glory and to teach us valuable lessons.

Please pray for my friend as she continues learning.

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