Every Monday morning, newspapers splash the grisly reports of new killings from across Brazil. Maria Santos breathes a prayer of thanks that her son Roberto's name is not among the weekend's dead. But next Monday, it might be different.
Nearly 600 children are murdered annually in Rio de Janeiro alone. Police, attempting to combat drugs and crime, have declared war on teenage gangs. Private vigilante groups shoot teenagers in military-style executions. Teens kill each other in gang vendettas and drug wars. Even for Christian kids, sexual immorality, occult spiritism, depression, drug use, and materialism threaten to unravel their commitment to Christ.
At one time, Santos focused her prayers solely on her son. But now she prays alongside 15,000 mothers in the growing movement "Wake Up, Deborah," which is rallying the church to the spiritual potential within Brazilian youth. The group's name is inspired from the uncertain and troubling period in Israel's history noted in Judges 4 and 5 when the prophetess Deborah woke up the Israelites against their oppressors.
What distinguishes Wake Up, Deborah, from Moms in Touch and other prayer groups is its pledge, adapted from Hannah's vow in 1 Samuel: "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery … but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life."
Wake Up, Deborah, members pledge to pray at least 15 minutes a day that their children will become not only Christians, but missionaries—to their communities, to Brazil, and to the world.
Ana Maria Pereira, director of the program, came up with the idea from the Global Consultation on World Evangelization (GCOWE '95) in Seoul (CT, July 17, 1995, p. 53). There, when 60,000 South ...1
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