Greetings in the name of Jesus who invites us to pray, and taught us to pray…
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread… (Matthew 6:9-11)
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
Jesus invite us when we pray to ask for what we need! And the context of Jesus’ teaching on prayer is a communal context. We ask not only for ourselves but also for others; for all our neighbours near and far. And even our enemies if we take the whole teaching of Jesus seriously (Matthew 5:44).
This week, and over the past year, we have prayed much, for many of our family, friends and neighbours. This ministry of prayer for others is often referred to as intersession. Intercessory prayer is so important in the life of God’s people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed that, “Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the fellowship must enter every day.”
Richard Foster in his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home writes: “If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others.” May we continue to love one another as we pray for and with one another! Thank you for joining this important ministry of prayer.
I invite us to continue to pray for Dann & Joji Pantoja. Knowing more about them can help to enhance our intercession for them.
In a statement published on their website waves.ca in March, LakanLakambiniIndigenousNames.pdf (waves.ca) Dann & Joji explain the colonial history their birth names represent and why their Indigenous names are significant to them.
“OUR RESPECTIVE INDIGENOUS NAMES ARE LAKAN SUMULONG & LAKAMBINI MAPAYAPA.
We, Luis Daniel Alba Pantoja and Joji Felicitas Francisco Bautista-Pantoja, are from the Tagalog tribe of Southern Luzon, the region where Manila is located. We lead a peace and reconciliation team who works among the various armed-conflicted parts of the Philippines. We are currently based in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines.
The Spanish colonial powers almost erased our Tagalog tribal identity and gave us the names of our former colonial masters. The American colonial power converted us into Protestants and made a big gap between our parental families and the Catholic majority members of the clan. Our Tagalog tribe was used by the Spanish and American colonial powers in their wars to fight against the tribes of Mindanao—both the Islamized and non-Islamized Indigenous Peoples. The Tagalog language was eventually imposed as the Filipino national language throughout the archipelago, ignoring the varying concerns, and later resentment, of other Indigenous Peoples.
One of the most respected tribal leaders in Mindanao and a fellow peacebuilding leader, Datu Migketay Saway, advised us to consider using our Tagalog indigenous names as we interact with Indigenous Peoples to bridge the cultural and historical divide between our Westernized tribe and the still relatively preserved Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao.
We went to our Tagalog elders and requested for indigenous names. I was given the name Lakan Sumulong—”a proponent of progress.” Joji was given the name Lakambini Mapayapa—”a woman of peace.” Now, our awareness and appreciation of our Tagalog cultural identity is getting deeper. This somehow opened our hearts and minds wider as we continue to seek deeper relationships with the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao. This aspect of our journey are reconciling and healing factors as we deal with the wounds of the past violent conflicts between the mostly Westernized peoples of Luzon and the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao.
Meanwhile, our Tagalog elders appreciate that we identify with our Laguna-based culture, yet willing to engage with other Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines to advance peace and reconciliation. This also helps us and our peacebuilders community as we establish Peace and Reconciliation Communities in many conflicted areas in the Philippines….
Although we have been trained, through our colonial educational system, to ignore and even to forget our tribal identities, we are now realizing that our indigenous identities can be a redeeming factor—in healing our being (the process of our psycho-spiritual transformation); in determining the priorities of what we ought to be doing as a nation (active non-violent radical transformation); and, in determining how we will prioritize what we will be having (inclusive growth and national development based on peace-and-reconciliation principles). Peace and reconciliation seem to be advancing in the Philippines as the Spirit of God continues to transform us and our small community so we can be a transforming presence of Christ in this beautiful but still conflicted land.”
Let us pray with, and intercede for, Lakan and Lakambini as they continue to work for peace and reconciliation in the Philippines!