Praying for Native Americans
The Sign Marking Indian Island, Near Old Town, Maine
The main part of the city of Old Town, Maine sits on an island that is between the Penobscot River and the Stillwater River called Marsh Island. There is an interesting history with Marsh Island that doesn’t speak well for the white man. The Stillwater River is really a branch of the Penobscot River. It was named the Stillwater so whites could claim Marsh Island as it own. This was during the time when a reservation was being established near Old Town. It was agreed that the Penobscot nation would be given all the Islands in the Penobscot River. Then came the name change for one of the branches of the river. I want to point out that Marsh Island is the biggest island in the river. In the 80’s, the Penobscots tired to get back their island, but they were unsuccessful.
Columbus Day has passed and I've been thinking about these things. I've been thinking about how this holiday is starting to not have the recognition it once had. It seems we tend to focus on the negative of Columbus instead of the positive of bringing two worlds together. Yes, Columbus didn’t discover America, but his sailing west to go east did open up travel to the “New World”. I for one am thankful for Columbus coming over. That journey made it possible for me to be here in this form. The form that God had ordained from the beginning of time. I say this with some fear and trembling, because the acts of my ancestors have not been something I want to celebrate. It goes back to God using the bad to work good. I think we need to be reminded that our history is good and bad. That makes up who we are.
Enough of these thoughts, let’s get to thoughts on praying about this.
Reconciliation: This is a great start! The first nations were pushed aside as the United States was forming. Many times their land was taken. Although there has been legislation in the modern era to try and "make things right" with compensation - you can't legislate Reconciliation. I don’t know the best way to solve this issue, but there indeed needs to be Reconciliation - it's obvious - or, at least it should be. If you are looking for suggestions regarding the subject of Reconciliation, read my hubs about praying for reconciliation. My hope is that will be a great place to start.
Salvation: They need Jesus just as much as I or anyone else needs Jesus. Pray that they will have an opportunity to hear the gospel. If you know Native Americans, pray for them by name. Ask the Holy Spirit to rest on their homes and hearts. When I’m praying, I ask God to soften hearts. I also pray for God to raise up laborers for the harvest. God could be asking you to reach out to these people. If this is the case, pray about having the right words to say as prompted by the Holy spirit.
- Economy/Industry: Indian Island near Old Town has Penobscot High Stakes Bingo. This essentially provides financial support for the tribal government. When I have done prayer walks around the island, I ask God to send an industry that supports the Penobscot Nation more than the Bingo can. I pray for an industry that will put the people on the Island to work. When I was with InterVarsity, there was talk about when they hired Native American staff they wouldn’t be required to fundraise for their position. This was because there is a lot of poverty among Native Americans. Let’s pray that the economy will improve on Indian Reservations across the country. And that the lives of North American Indians will improve.
My Prayer Walk Buddy
The Chiefs: I know a family on Indian Island near Old Town and I have babysat their young son many times. A few times I have taken him around the island prayer walking. One time I noticed election signs for the next chief. The Bible commands us to pray for those in authority over us. I don’t live in Penobscot Nation, but when I visit I am under the authority of the tribal government. I prayed for the election. If you can, get to know at least the name of chief of the nearest Indian Nation. I pray that they will hear from God and make godly decisions.
Holy Spirit To Change Hearts: We can’t change hearts, only the Holy Spirit can. So, pray that the He will soften hearts and forgive sins. Also, ask the Holy Spirit where you need to say, “I’m sorry.” Even if it is apologizing for something that our ancestors have done. I realize that this goes back to Reconciliation, but I think that it is an important thing to be praying for.
Listen: Another great way to learn what to pray for is to LISTEN. Listening more than talking or judging works best. Get to know the Native Americans in your life. Listen to their stories and how they feel about the history of their people. Then, listen to the Holy Spirit, pray it back to God as you are processing the information. You might not like what they have to say, but it is important to earn their trust for you to be honest and to know how best to pray for them. EVERYBODY wants to be listened to and our listening might also open the door for an opportunity for you to share the gospel. I believe that actions are prayers, too, because you are believing that God is going to act.
Your Thoughts: You have them, and I want to read them. Please share anything you want to add so we all can be praying for these wonderful people.
Map of Penobsoct Nation
We who live in the United States, live in a nation that was formed with noble actions and actions that are not something I really want to be talking about. That is where praying for the North American Indians comes into play. I for one want them to come to Christ, be reconciled to Him and to be fully reconciled to the white man. This nation has come a long way, but we still have a ways to go. Actually I do know what the best solution is-reconciling the human heart to God. I pray to the One who does know-ALL the answers. Are you with me?
I hope that this gives you some thoughts on how to pray, pray, and pray. And of course, pray early and often.