Yes, much like everyone, when I was in the military, I had a few nicknames. For a short time, I was called, “Max”, though I do not know who or why it began. At a different base, because a very chunky and somewhat uneducated fellow never seemed to be able to pronounce my last name, he always called me “McCuff.” Several others picked up on that one; fortunately, it did not follow me to my next duty station.
But the one that stayed with me the longest of my time in service was one that should not be a surprise to someone with a last name like mine: “Mac.” Even many NCOs and Officers would refer to me this way. For those several years, that is who I was. After being discharged, I was never called that again.
By now you are beginning to wonder why you are reading this. Recently, I was asked to share my God experience as we prayerwalked Tienamin Square in Beijing, China a few years ago. As you will see, the name “Mac” will hold a significant role in this experience. (A word of explanation before you think I have misspelled “prayer walk, walked, walking”. To me, it is all the same activity, so for years I have used each form as a single word, not even hyphenated. “Prayerwalk” It drives my computer crazy!)
Moving on; several years ago, I was invited to go on teaching, preaching, and prayerwalking mission trips with Dick Eastman’s groups of Every Home for Christ (EHC). We conducted several training conferences throughout Russia to equip pastors of unregistered churches in the ministries of prayer, biblical teaching through Sunday School, preaching and pasturing in specifics. Most of these men did not even have a complete Bible of their own. They were given Bibles and many other supplies for church work.
After that God empowered trip, I heard about an up-coming trip to China. This trip’s focus was to be strictly prayerwalking throughout that communist nation. I was very interested and asked that I might be considered for the team. My initial response was somewhat disappointing. I was told that they usually avoid sending pastors on prayerwalking missions, because this was a non-teaching-preaching secretive mission, and it was hard for pastors to be secretive about who we represented in a communist controlled country that persecuted Christians.
However, I knew in my heart that God had placed this intense desire for China a few years before in my role as the Prayer Director for the Kern County Southern Baptist Association (a position I had held for 10 years). In that position, I had asked God for two very different prayer focuses that I might encourage our association to pray for that whole year. God gave me these two areas for give our prayer attention to: African American churches in Kern County, and the Nation of China. These challenges were met with great excitement by our Kern County Baptists, opening many doors of ministry.
A few days later, I was attending a CSBC event at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, California. As I was walking toward the sanctuary from the parking lot, I ran into an old friend (long story here), Sistah Pat. She greeted me and quickly asked how she could pray for me. I told her about the possible trip to China, and how it was being hindered because I was a pastor. She prayed right there and later said she prayed throughout this conference.
To my surprise, every speaker at this conference made some kind of reference to China in their messages as illustrations of their assigned topic. By the time the fourth speaker was up, and he soon also made a reference to China, I heard the familiar voice of Sistah Pat booming from across the sanctuary, “Brother Jerry, you’re going to China!”
The next week, I shared the passion in my heart for China with the EHC mission director and leader, C. Richard Smith, who also led our Russia trip, and he said, “You have to go, Jerry!” And so, I officially became part of the prayerwalking team for China.
There are many things about that trip that I am not allowed to share, but I do want to share this one aspect, sparing many details and names. Dick Eastman was in the process of writing a new book prior to our China mission. One chapter he had been working on related to a person doing secretive mission work, distributing written Gospel tracts throughout China. Dick had been told of his work and a few days later met this young British brother and even went on some night missions in villages. One chapter of this new book told of this young man’s bold mission to place the gospel in every home in China. Dick only refers to this mission worker as “Brother Mac.” There is the first of two connections with my opening tale of my nicknames I reference in this writing.
Brother Mac spent years plotting strategies and mapping hundreds of villages where he would place many thousands of tracts in mailboxes or in bicycle baskets in the dark of night. He would even form and take teams of college students in some of these nightly crusades in country.
Back in Beijing, as we prayerwalked Tienamin Square, we quickly agreed that the darkness and the pain over that area (you may remember the massacre of hundreds of rebelling youths on that site in 1989) was so heavy that we felt the need to pray there many hours of the day, then to return after midnight to continue through the night in spiritual warfare praying. And so, we did precisely that.
Beijing, and its surrounding area, was on the first leg of our mission for this month of prayerwalking. We would later journey southward and spend some days in and around Guangzhou. Many things I could share, but I fear I must stay on point of this writing.
We would bring our mission to Hong Kong a few months prior to its control changing back from England to communist China again. Prayer there was vital. While there, we were invited to be guests of the East Asian National Director’s Fellowship. That morning there were many reports and testimonies of how God was using and working within all their ministries. We were aware of several men who were to share, but not all spoke before lunch, neither were they introduced. We were on our own for lunch. And 3 or 4 of us prayer team members happened to find a MacDonald’s; so, guess where we went?
While eating at our table, a young man came up to our table to speak with us. I was guessing he was American, but it turned out he was a Brit. He asked us what we were doing in country, and that he had noticed us as we listened to the Fellowship speakers.
We shared that we were a prayerwalking team praying throughout China, and so he asked about places we had been. Someone in our group mentioned our Tienamin Square prayer vigil. That’s when he interrupted and asked exactly when that was. We gave him the dates we were there and the day and night warfare praying that took place. He quickly introduced himself by saying that he goes by Brother Mac. He then told us that he had been in that same area of Beijing the very night after we were there. He exclaimed that our presence there explains his experience.
He and his team were around the Tienamin Square preparing for a long night of secretly placing tracts near homes, apartments, mailboxes and bicycles, when he was apprehended along with all of his tracts in bags. He was placed in a vehicle along with the tracts and was questioned at length. It seemed his interrogators were acting confused and frustrated, and after a while they turned him loose and gave him back all of the thousands of tracts.
After the surprising release, Brother Mac and his team went about the business of placing the tracts everywhere they could. He told us they had never been able to place that many tracts in one night before. He closed our conversation by saying, “Now I understand why it went so well!”
Beloved, it is way past time for focused spiritual warfare praying for America! Prayer affects! Pray On!