‘I’ve prayed for you every day of your life,’ said one stranger to another. ‘God has answered my lifelong prayer and today he has brought you to my people.’ The nearly 90-year-old Logoti man had tears in his eyes as he spoke, and the Englishman who was meeting him for the first time was stunned into silence.

Stewart teaching on Experience Wycliffe. Photo: Knut Burmeister

The fact was, he’d never met the Logoti man before. This was his first visit into the man’s village, and here he was, shaking hands with a perfect stranger, who had been pleading with God for him and others to come to begin translation work for his whole life. And Stewart never knew until today that, at least in part, this man’s prayers had guided his career path from teacher to translator.

Madrangi, the Logoti man, grew up a shepherd boy. He had become a Christian when he was fifteen, and struggled to make sense of the Bible in Old Bangala, the language of wider communication in his area. His hunger for God’s word was so great that he decided he had to have it in his own language at any cost. With no translators around, he simply began the work himself.

I vowed that I would play my part in the way I could – praying daily

‘I just found it so difficult,’ he told Stewart, ‘and I couldn’t continue. But I vowed that I would play my part in the way I could – praying daily. I pleaded with God each and every day for him to send people who were able to do this work. And now, finally, you are here.’

Over many years, he had said the same thing to others on the team, and continued to pray as the work progressed. Each person played their part too, and through each of them God gradually answered Madrangi’s prayers.

Prayer is foundational to the work of Bible translation, as Madrangi understood. Living in what is arguably one of the most extreme environments in the world, in war-torn Congo, he learnt quickly that our only hope is in Christ, and he turned to him each day for his provision and strength. He was willing to pray for decades until the work began, and then continue to pray for the rest of his lifetime as Scripture began to be published. The New Testament is finally available in Logoti, hallelujah! His prayers were indeed powerful and effective, and so, the Bible tells us, are ours.

What will you begin to pray for today?