“Do you love me more than these?” … “Follow me!” Jesus – John 21:15, 19 NIV
“God I love you.” What would happen if you traded all your personal prayers for that simple four word prayer? What if you made a commitment to stop praying for yourself, your health, your wealth, and your safety and made it the only prayer you prayed for an entire year? We dare not underestimate the transforming power of a simple prayer, breathed repeatedly from an earnest heart.
Like many, I always marvel at the way God chooses to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. The stories of such people are both intriguing and inspirational because of the unlikely series of circumstances that catapults them from a life on the couch to life on the edge, from a life consumed by the world to life as a world changer. Their testimonies capture our imagination since most of us can identify with the ordinariness of their lives before God called and transformed them into heroes of the faith.
One such hero of the faith for me is a new found friend named George Sisneros. When I met George during a month long visit to Guatemala last February 2016, I was immediately attracted to his no holds barred love for Jesus and passion to pour his life out for the gospel and the Glory of God. I was fascinated how he and his wife Vonda along with their children, in just three years as independent missionaries, were strategically investing their lives in several orphanages, serving the poor, and adopting a remote mountain village where among other things they have built a boys academy to teach English and Bible.
How could a single family, in such a short amount of time in a foreign culture, be having such kingdom impact? It could only be God and I was enthralled hearing George tell his story.
Five years ago George was just an ordinary American male, spending a Sunday afternoon sitting at home in front of the TV cheering on his home football team, which just happened to be the Denver Broncos. Typical in so many ways, George was living the idyllic American life as the husband of a loving wife, father of four, owner of two successful businesses, and settled in a comfortable home. Little did he know that it was all about to change.
At the end of the game, suddenly out of the blue, he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him – “Do you love Me?” “Yes! Of course I love You” he replied. It was quiet. “Do you love Me more than you love your wife?” George paused. As he thought about it, he knew the answer. “I love my wife more” he acknowledged. “Do you love Me more than your love your kids?” came the Lord’s reply. This time, the answer came more easily, George had to admit “I love my kids more than I love You Father.” And then, just one more question “Do you love Me more than your love the Denver Broncos?” No sooner had the Lord asked that question and He was gone. George was left alone to ponder this one.
George began to wonder if he really did love God. He had just watched three hours of football, but could not ignore the fact that he had never spent three hours alone with God or prayed and read the Bible for three straight hours. He was undone. He talked to his wife that night about it and they prayed together. That’s when he made the “God I love You” prayer commitment.
Almost a year later, at the invitation of some friends from his church, George found himself in Guatemala on a short term mission trip. Unbeknownst to George it was a setup from God in answer to his yearlong “God I love You” prayer. At the end of the week, he was standing at the back of an orphanage watching 200 kids with their hands raised, engaged in praise and worship. Seeing their obvious love for God and feeling His love in that place, overwhelmed him. It was there, in that moment, he realized he loved God too. God had answered his prayer. It would change the trajectory of George’s life. He could sense God was saying “I don’t want you on Sundays. I don’t want you when you have time. I want ALL of you. Follow me.” From a heart overflowing with love for God, George gave an unequivocal “yes” to God’s call.
Seven months later, having sold their house and businesses to follow Jesus, the Sisneros family landed in Guatemala City with just two suitcases each and no idea what God wanted them to do. George determined to set aside the next six months to read the Bible and study Spanish while they sought God’s direction. The rest, as they say is “His story.” The Sisneros are now planning to open a Christian middle school and building a medical clinic in their adopted village of El Rosario.
To meet George and get a video update on his ministry click here.
I love to tell George’s story whenever I teach on prayer. It offers hope to those who want a deeper relationship with God in prayer and want to see their life transformed in the process. It illustrates how uncomplicated our communication with God is really meant to be and how even the simplest of prayers can change the world.
Is there a prayer, stirring in you, that you need to pray to see a longed for change in your life? If so, maybe it’s time to make that your primary focus until you see a breakthrough.