December 27, 2013
What happens when a Ukrainian evangelist prays for you?
By Joan Hutter
Many people in the remote parts of the former Soviet Union have never heard the Gospel in their own language.
I don’t know a lick of Russian but I promise my heart knows the word spoken by a Ukrainian evangelist preaching the gospel in his language. I am not saying I can translate Russian or Ukrainian. But the heart knows the gospel, no matter what the language.
I am sitting here with Slavik Radchuk and he clicks on his television program on the internet, where he is preaching to thousands of Muslims at a crusade. The power of the gospel pierces my heart.
I remember the same thing happening to me when I first met Slavik nearly 20 years ago. I interviewed him for a story and afterward said, “May I pray?” I opened my mouth to pray and heard his voice storming the gates of heaven with all boldness … in Ukrainian.
I prayed simultaneously in English and felt the strength of God’s presence pouring into my heart. To this day I wonder if what I was speaking to the Lord in my language was an interpretation of the words he was lifting to heaven in his language.
It doesn’t really matter. “We have 5,000 voices praying at the same time in some of our meetings,” he tells me. You may imagine an orchestra warming up in the pit, but I have practiced this and it’s actually more unifying than the American “my turn-your turn” – or as my children call it, popcorn prayer.
But God sees the heart and hears all the languages and requests at once. The prayer of agreement can come to Him all together. And while we may miss such-in-such, He so gloriously receives the cry – even the corporate cry – of the hearts.
Today I ask Slavik to pray. He prays in my language. I keep quiet, allowing his words to pierce my heart (a benefit of listening prayer). He prays for the ministry I have here as a writer, and for an upcoming local women’s conference. My heart agrees with these words I understand in my native tongue.
But when he prayed in Ukrainian 20 years ago, and as I listen to his gospel message on a television station which reaches across the former Soviet Union, I was—and am—captivated. I feel the blessing of prayer. I sense the power of the gospel.
“The gospel is the power of God for the salvation to everyone who believes,” Paul writes in Romans 1:16.
Did you notice the translation of that word, power? In the Greek (the language of the New Testament), power is “dunamis,” or “miraculous power, might, strength.” See that same word and translation in Ephesians 1:19-21.
“… and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
That is what I am feeling right now after Slavik’s prayer – and just sitting here with an evangelist sold out for Christ Jesus, who lives to preach the gospel to every nation. Every heart. Every moment.
And I sense the joy that our God knows every language and is sending native missionaries to the ends of the earth to speak to hidden people in their own tongues before His return.
In Russia and Ukraine, missionaries are taking Bibles to every village that has no witness for Christ. They go and preach the gospel to the people in their own language. This is a miracle … to hear the message of the cross of Jesus Christ in one’s own language.
Slavik tells me the story of a newlywed couple who is giving one year for the Lord Jesus to place New Testaments in every village.
He tells me about a woman in the Northeastern tip of Russia, where temperatures reach -55. She prayed: “God, if you are real, send to us a missionary to tell us about you.” Six months later, the missionaries arrived with the gospel. In their language. God knows how to make a match.
But somehow my heart is stirred when I hear the Word in their language. And while I don’t know precisely the translation, my heart understands. Tears flow. To think one day every tongue will confess He is Lord …
God is glorious. He sent His Son to die for us. He rose again and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. His blood is enough. His blood breaks every yoke. His gospel is resurrection power.
I feel that to the core of my being.