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Prayers for the new cross-cultural worker

We found Arthur’s notebook from our earliest days in Tanzania this weekend. The words are faded now, and they are mainly just language notes but at the end are some prayers Arthur wrote from March-May 2013.

We both remember this period as a rich and exciting time of learning, an explosion not only of language but of imagination as we began to see the world differently. But re-reading Arthur’s prayers reminded us how disciplines that seem very natural to us now were foreign and difficult to us then, and required our daily dependence on God. (They still do.)

I thought they were so beautiful and poignant, I asked his permission to share them, in hopes that they will benefit others too, especially those in the early days of language learning and culture adjustment.

11 March, Ps 4

Father, when I feel hemmed in, keep me from blaming others, but lead me to repent and turn to you, my peace. ‘You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ Amen.

21 April, Ps 20

Father, I ask again that you would grant the desire of my heart and make all my plans succeed – that in this place and in this endeavour you would change me and work on me powerfully and so make yourself known here in Tanzania. Grant me patience and persistence, and keep my eyes fixed on you. Amen.

19 April, Ps 22

Father, thank you that when I feel fragile, when it feels hard to keep my headspace in Tanzania, that I am part of what you are doing to the ends of the earth, that I am part of the company that says, ‘He has done it!’

3 May

Father, forgive me for my self-sufficiency because I have been comparing myself with others in Swahili performance and berating myself, and today I find myself worn with worry. Please strengthen me for a good day of class, and kill off all resentment as I celebrate with others the work they have done. Give me patience and persistence as I continue when things are harder. Christ be my kind shepherd today. Amen.

13 May

Jesus, would I take up my cross this day, ready to bear the cost of encounter and conflict and closeness. Amen.

Categories: Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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