Recently I was asked by a missionary from a church that has been working on our Navajo Reservation for a number of years, if I would be willing to write out some prayer requests for our people. I took several weeks to ponder this request as praying for the Navajo people is a tricky thing. It is so easy to focus on, and become overwhelmed by, our needs; unemployment, alcohol abuse, diabetes, broken families, suicides, and the list goes on and on. But I do not think focusing solely on these symptoms and praying only for their relief is all that is needed. Absolutely these issues need to be addressed, but the root, the cause of these symptoms is so much deeper.
For centuries our Navajo people, like all Native Americans, have been told by both the government and the church that we cannot be who we are. We have been told that if we want to live and have salvation, we must become something else. We must become American. And that is a lie. Our country needs us to be who God created us to be. And the church needs us to be who God created us to be. God has given us a unique language, culture, world view and history. They are no better than anyone else's but neither are they any worse. They are different. And in the Kingdom of God diversity is welcomed and different is necessary.
So when you pray for us, I ask you to pray that we will have the strength, the courage and the confidence to be who God created us to be.
Also, please pray for the rest of the country and for the broader Church. Pray that their eyes will be opened and they will realize what they are missing when they embrace the worldly value of assimilation instead of celebrating the Kingdom value of diversity. In the Kingdom of God every part of the body is unique and every member is necessary. It is only when the parts of the body are diverse that the body is able to function.
I thank you for your prayers and I thank you for your partnership in the Gospel
P.S. I wrote these prayer requests on behalf of my people (Navajo), but by no means do I think these prayers are only for us. So I invite you to use them in your prayers for all tribes and indigenous peoples to whom you feel they are applicable.