Once there was a woman who lived her whole life under one religion. To her it seemed more of a gradual process than a choosing. But one day she began to have headaches and hear the dark voice of a spirit. Sometimes it made her do and say things she didn’t want to do and made it hard for her to love people she wanted to care about.
The woman had a husband and some children. But one of her sons was sensitive to the dark spirit, refusing to let his mother kiss him or even come near him for 20 years. One day, this woman, sad and lonely, heard a story from her niece about God. It was unlike any story she had ever heard—a God who gives deep, fulfilling rest to those who follow Him. She hungered for this God and stories about Him.
So, her niece invited her to visit the city to hear more. She went, bringing some people from her family to hear the story, too. That visit was so good that she went again and again throughout the summer. During that time, the brothers and sisters who follow this God in that place prayed continually for that dark spirit to leave her alone. They prayed for God to work by His power in and through her. They prayed for her to walk in freedom. God answered their prayers.
Then, one day in autumn, she heard about a God-follower in her own small town. She prayed to find him, and soon afterward, she and her family met him in the street. She walked right up to him and said, “Excuse me, sir, are you an English teacher?” “Yes,” he replied. “Oh good,” she said, “but we don’t really want lessons. We are like-minded and need to talk!” You see, this woman didn’t know that brothers and sisters who follow this God in a faraway land had been praying for two years so that God would send new brothers and sisters to this teacher-brother in the streets.
This woman grew close to the teacher-brother and his wife. They invited her to fellowship and worship this God with other brothers and sisters in her little town. But something happened. During those meetings, the evil spirit came back to bother her. One day as she worshipped with them, the dark spirit took control of her body. She couldn’t talk or move. The brothers and sisters began to pray, “Please, Jesus! Bring your freedom to her! Show her your power! Help her to choose you!” And other brothers and sisters around in faraway lands began to pray for her, too.
When she was able to speak, these brothers and sisters reminded her of her former choice to follow the other religion. They told her about the importance of choosing the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, by making an outward sign of obedience to Him. She understood what He was asking her to do. But then, the dark spirit seized her again, preventing her from crying out, “Jesus! Help me!” Finally, after many brothers and sisters struggled in prayer for her, this woman put her faith in Christ. She stood up, grabbed her headscarf and threw it across the room, saying, “I choose you, Jesus! Once and for all!” She was so happy that she ran around, hugging everyone—brothers and sisters alike!
When this woman went home, her son said, “Mom, something is really different about you.” And this same son, who wouldn’t even come near her for 20 years, kissed her. Soon after, he told her, “Mom, I am not just your son anymore. Now, I am also your brother!”
As is evidenced by this story, Jesus is in the business of setting captives free—just as He set this North African Muslim woman free from the dark spirit that tormented her for decades. And we get to participate in the work through our prayers for Pioneers workers and the people they serve around the world.