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While serving as Presbyterian missionaries in Lebanon Ben and Carol Weir learned a great deal about prayer when Ben was suddenly kidnapped by Shiite Muslim extremists in 1984. He was held in solitary confinement, in cramped quarters for sixteen months. Carol wondered whether she would ever see him again. Carol wrote of her ordeal:

The months dragged on. There had been so many meetings, so much discussion without any change. I became more aware of what seemed to me to be the silence of God. What was happening to Ben during these long months? When would this nightmare end?

We ourselves had tried to stir the Reagan Administration to take new initiatives. We had made many private and personal appeals. I remembered the story in scripture of the widow who had knocked and knocked on the door of the unjust judge, the judge who cared nothing for God or man. Finally, because of her persistence, the judge responded. I felt like that widow, whose story had been told over and over for two thousand years. I was knocking on many doors in Washington. Would one door finally open for Ben’s release?

Later I was to learn from Ben that he, too, had read that same Bible story during his captivity. He had interpreted it to mean that God does not object to our repeated petitions.

Perhaps God does not speak, but remains silent to listen for something in us. Perhaps God listens for openness and receptivity on our part to the creation of a new, fresh spirit.

SOURCE: From "Hostage Bound, Hostage Free." p.164.

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