Last night, I had a dream that I was a spy in Soviet Russia during the later years of the Cold War. I think I was having this dream because I had watched a special feature about an ex-spy at O’Hare while waiting for my flight to San Jose this last Sunday evening. In this feature, a retired CIA agent recounted her experience during the Cold War, and the last bit that I heard before I left was when the KGB kidnapped her, and interrogated her. The other CIA agent with whom she was working had a small pen which could take secret photos, and so when she was sat down at a table to be interrogated and the KGB placed that pen in front of her, she knew that she had been found out.
In my dream, I had only been in the USSR for what seemed like mere days before the KGB took me into a stark room with a solitary oak table. One agent sat down next to me, disassembled a camera-taking spy pen, and with his smooth Russian accent instructed me to re-assemble the pen in less than 7 minutes. Another stockier and older officer sat down across the table and revealed that if I couldn’t do it, I would be executed. But if I could do it in that amount of time, they would know that I was a spy and they would throw me in jail until they could figure out what to do with me, but that I would most likely die there too.
The pen appeared to be very simple to put together, and I was confident I would be able to finish it quickly. But before they began, they chided that we should pray before we started the test. I bowed my head waiting for one of the two Russian officers to prayer, but when neither of them started, I began:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I want to thank you for my time so far in Russia. I want to thank you for the beautiful landscapes, the mountain views from my village, and for the gorgeous weather.
The Russian officers began to chuckle, amused that I was talking about the beauty of Russia immediately before my expected doom. I continued in spite of them:
Lord, thank you for showing me the culture of the Russian people and for all those who I have met. Pease help me to learn more Russian so I can better serve those with whom I associate with.
I heard another scoff.
Heavenly Father, you know the reason why I am here. You know that every spy wants the best for his friends and his family, and that we have answered a call to keep millions, whether they be Americans or Russians, from falling into a nuclear disaster. That is why I am here. That is why these two agents are here. Please bless us in our endeavors to this end.
This time, silence.
I thank you Lord that you have entrusted me with this responsibility, and that even more than I work for the CIA, I am an agent for your kingdom that I can do what I can to protect every single human, each a precious soul for whom you died. For this cause, I am not afraid to die.
As I continued to pray, I felt as though it was no longer I who was praying, but that God was giving me the words. While at the beginning of the prayer, I had been afraid, I had decided to start this request in the same way I always do, with thankfulness, and God guided my heart. I continued to prayer, awed by God’s ability to replace a spirit of fear with a spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
Lord, I lay my life in Your hands. Whatever happens, may your name be glorified. I know that the next thing I will see after my death will be Your soon coming, and the closer I am to death, the more real Your promises will be. Help the rest of my life, no matter how short, to be a witness to this end, for Jesus’ sake, who created us, redeemed us, and is coming back to get us, Amen.1
I never found out what happened to me because I woke up as I was praying the final paragraph of this prayer. I do remember being moved that the two KGB agents had been touched by what I had said.
The curiosity was so great, I wanted to grab for that pen and feel the cool steel components in my fingers as I dropped the spring in and screwed the barrel in. But the dream faded away too quickly. I was left with the impression that my witness in the face of certain demise had left an impact on the two imaginary KGB officers in my dream, and that God has given me a chance to share the big picture with them.
Prayer is an amazing opportunity to share. There is no other form of communication in which people from all cultures and creeds will quietly respect you and listen to you all the way until you are done. And in many cases, even if those around you do not believe in the God you trust, they are thankful that you have made an appeal to a higher power.2
This dream left an impression on me, and I felt that you would benefit from reading the dream and a few of my thoughts in it. Has there ever been a time where a dream left a strong impression on you?
While most of this prayer is pretty much accurate to what I dreamt, I have no idea how I ended it. For the sake of relaying the story to you, I filled in this last paragraph of my prayer with what I would have said if I had to do it again. However, I feel that whatever God revealed to me in my dream was far more eloquent. ↩
I have heard stories of atheists who have heckled and derided believers for their belief in God. In one account, the wife of the athiest became very ill, and in his desperation to help her, the athiest entreated the Christian, “I don’t believe in God, but can you still pray for my wife.” ↩