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My Faith: Who does God listen to?
October 15th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

My Faith: Who does God listen to?

Editor's note: Missionary and conference speaker Jason Frenn is the author of “The Seven Prayers God Always Answers.”

By Jason Frenn, Special to CNN

(CNN) - I was 8 when I first walked into the huge church in Woodland Hills, California. Cautiously moving down the center aisle with my mouth half-open, I gazed at the candles, elaborate statues and stained-glass images and silently asked: “Would God listen if I prayed?”

At the time, I didn’t know much about spiritual things, and unfortunately, I didn’t have anyone in my life who was in a position to enlighten me. Deep down inside, I wondered if God truly cared when I talked to him.

That basic question led me to a simple yet all-important discovery. It’s not how important or pious we are, or even how perfect our beliefs may be. God listens to all of us when we pray. What matters most to him is the sincerity of our heart, and that is precisely what generates a response.

But as I Christian I wonder, "What about people from other religions and walks of life? Does God listen when they pray?"

At this time in our nation’s history, we’ve become polarized over religious issues, but God hasn’t.

He isn’t confined by our opinions or theological positions. Instead, his ways transcend culture and theology. Even our lack of faith and moral shortcomings don’t prevent him from listening to our prayers.

If they did, many great people in history, including King David, an adulterer, and Moses, a murderer, never would have attained an audience with the creator. Regardless of one’s religion, culture or level of morality, God offers all of us something wonderful that might seem surprising to many.

If you’re a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or even an atheist, you don’t need the faith to move mountains or even be a saint to get God’s ear.

Throughout the Bible, there is only one prerequisite to God listening to our petitions. If your heart is sincere when you pray, God will listen and offer an answer to your prayers. This is true for everyone, everywhere, every time.

In Matthew 7:7, Christ spoke to a small crowd and made this promise about prayer. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” God listens to every genuine prayer directed to him. It may not be the answer you’re looking for; nonetheless, you can count on a response to your petition.

A few months ago, I received an e-mail from a man in Africa. He mentioned that he was facing a difficult challenge in his personal life and needed to overcome some significant barriers.

He was scanning channels and came across a television program showing me speaking at a large church. He watched as I said, “God asks you the question, ‘What do you want me to do for you?' ” Suddenly, he paused. What he wrote next in his e-mail struck me. “I am not a Christian,” he said. “I am a Muslim.”

He said, “You encouraged me to pray. So I did, because I am presently going through a difficult challenge in my life that I desperately need to overcome. I realize that I am not alone and that I should pray and ask God Almighty for help. God is answering my prayers.”

He ended his letter by stating, “Prayer and more prayer is what I'll be doing to overcome this barrier!”

I want to leave you with this final thought. If you find yourself dealing with family issues, financial challenges, personal health problems or any other area where you need help, there are prayers God always says yes to regardless of your background or personal faith. You will never know what incredible breakthrough awaits you until you start praying.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jason Frenn.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity

soundoff (702 Responses)
  1. jj

    I tried to post a lengthy statement about the ideas of Zechariah Sitchin. Haven't seen it posted yet. Am I being censored?

    October 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Keith

      you probably used a word(s) that triggered the auto filter. I'm not sure but I think Reality has a whole list of words that will cause you post to not show up. Ex. Consti-tution. H0m0$exual.

      October 18, 2011 at 7:35 am |
    • jj

      ET?

      October 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  2. Carlito Swagger

    The Bible also says if you deny the son then you deny the father. Muslims, Buddhists, atheist, and every other religion denies Jesus being the savior to die for our sins. So why would God listen to someone who denies his son?

    October 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Trystan

      The bible says a lot of things, makes a lot of false promises, lies, contradictions, etc... I assure you, there is no "father" and no "son" to worry about. There is no hell to fear, so please for the love of balls stop talking about this christian myth as though it were true. Your religion is based on Greek mythology for christ's sake.

      October 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • prometheus

      @ Trystan
      Would you tell us more about this Greek myth?

      October 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Keith

      Trystan, perhaps YOU should try a different blog? This is a BELIEF blog or did you somehow miss that?

      October 18, 2011 at 7:37 am |
    • J.W

      Yeah Trystan if you are gonna spend a lot of time on this blog you are going to hear about God, Jesus, Krishna, and various other deities. You should get used to it.

      October 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  3. Ran

    This guy creeps me out. Is it just me or is this guy just making things up? I wouldn't leave my children alone with this guy.

    October 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    God answers to me, and me alone. Oh how awesome I am.

    October 17, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      We know, herbie.

      October 18, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  5. Mericiana, Visionary Healing Artist

    There isn't anyone more important than you are. Your God is personal and another's God may not recognize you. Your God is of breathtaking magnificence when the illusion dissolves and you recognize one another as you truly are – divine beings created by God in His own likeness, brilliant and glorious reflections of your heavenly Father in a state of eternal and harmonious Union. Reality – Heaven – is your Home, and that is where you have your eternal unbroken and uninterrupted existence in a state of constant joy. When Jesus spoke with me, he knew my multidimensional self, as he reminded me that each one of us are capable of creating miracles, as Jesus exists outside of our time dimension, yet hears our prayers. When we connect with that of our most intimate self, Jesus always hears our prayers.

    October 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  6. William Demuth

    Prayer is a manifestation of idiocy.

    There is no God to listen.

    Coversation with God is the manifestation of mental illness, and indicates SEVERE underlying damage.

    October 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • fred

      You have conversations with yourself. Most are negative and evil directed towards Christians. Who do you think you are haveing communication with.

      October 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Really

      "Most are negative and evil directed towards Christians. Who do you think you are haveing communication with."

      LOL! Try telling that to a LGBT person, they have greater negative and evil comments directed towards them, than any christian ever will.

      October 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • fred

      Really
      They must have forgotten what Jesus said "as you judge so will you be judged". Not only are there consequesnse later you pay the price today when you cast negative thought on others. Jesus also said you will be held accountable for every word that proceeds from your lips.
      Even if you do not believe in God I have not run across anyone that does not talk to themselves or have some form of meditative thought. What I was saying to William was to be carefull of your internal dialog it forms your character

      October 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • eyesopened

      Its the truth that sets a person free. and this is so cool because it reveals itself through people like yourself, why would I get upset at you for trying to prove that your right about something, especially something you dont even care about. You see in order for your opinion to count for something you yourself would have to believe that you count for something, and this my ignorant friend is a sad thing and the sad thing is that you are believing a lie, So I dont and cant blame you, as you are a person that believes that his life as he knows it is worthless that it doesnt add up to anything that can contribute to hope but only take away from it, I bet you have a alot of friends I sure dont but the ones that I do have I know I will enjoy forever, I hope the part of your mind and the the part of the minds of all those who read this Holy Spirit led truth will see the irony of the one who claims there is no God is being used perfectly in their own ignorance for the glory of God

      October 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      WD,
      "Prayer is a manifestation of idiocy.

      There is no God to listen.

      Coversation with God is the manifestation of mental illness, and indicates SEVERE underlying damage."

      And you, dear soul, are in more wretched shape then a crippled and blind man sitting as a beggar on the side of the road.... You are more to be pitied than one of them!

      October 17, 2011 at 8:11 pm |
    • Muneef

      GOD is a friend to who has no friends...he is always with us when we call for him sincerely whether we were in need or not in need...when remember him on our riches he will answer our calls during poverty...
      Who has not GOD as his friend and sitter then he must be having Satan as his friend and sitter...
      So man you are heading straight down the drain...!!

      October 17, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      !!! A M E N !!! , MY FRIEND!

      October 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Really?

      "be carefull of your internal dialog it forms your character"

      LOL! Well from the post from christians towards the LGBT people their characters are pretty shallow. LMAO!

      October 18, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  7. Rev.Rick

    As someone once said, "God is my shepherd, not my bellhop."

    God doesn't dispense blessings to some and simply ignore others. Prayer is a way to focus one's faith, belief and att-itude toward that which you desire to have, or to have happen, in your life. Prayer is co-creation with God through action. Once you have asked for a blessing from God, you must then take some action to bring it to fruition – God will set the circ-umstances, but it's up to you to interact with the Universe in order to set things in motion. Most people only understand half of what prayer is, and how it's used. No wonder people say prayer doesn't work – it's because neither do they.

    October 17, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • Rev.Rick

      ....and by the way, God will not, does not, defy the laws of physics simply to give you what you want. To do so would interfere with His own natural order and natural laws.

      October 17, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Rev.Rick, what I hear you saying is that the only way to achieve your goals is to Pray to God and work toward your goal. But we both know that's not true, if you worked toward your goals without Praying you either achieve them or not, the same if you work with Prayer, you either achieve them or not. At best, God (or the belief in God) is superfluous at worst a waist of time. However, you can Pray for something your entire life but you will never achieve it without work, seems to me that work is a lot more important than Prayer. Prayer without work equals nothing but work without Prayer equals anything you want to achieve.

      October 17, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      I find the shepherd analogy an interesting one. A shepherd doesn't tend to his flock for the sake of the sheep, a shepherd tends to his flock because he gets financial gain from it. The sheep don't know they're being used until they end up as dinner.

      October 17, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • JohnQuest

      ThinkForYourself, or Fleeced

      October 17, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Well, but the sheep seem to stay around and not get very upset after they get fleeced. I'm thinking that a sheep getting sheered would be like the equivalent of the book of Job.

      October 17, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • JohnQuest

      ThinkForYourself, That's true for most believers, they are promised abundant riches, virgins, and /or joy but only after they die. Meanwhile the people making the promises are living well now off of the believers as-sets, "a fool and his money". The believers are getting fleeced and loving it.

      October 17, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Rev.Rick

      @ JohnQuest said, "...I hear you saying is that the only way to achieve your goals is to Pray to God and work toward your goal."

      Nope – I never said it was the "only way" to acheive your goals. Whether or not you are a believer, I repeat, prayer is a way to focus your beliefs and att-itudes. God is not a Christian, nor a Muslim, nor a Jew. Prayer, or meditation if you prefer a more neutral term, is a tool we may all use, whether we are a believer or an atheist – God could care less what religious fanatic you follow or believe, what church you attend, or what denomination you are. We are all free to use or to ignore the spiritual tools that are available. The supreme gifts we should cultivate are compassion, love and forgiveness. It all sounds simple, but one reading through the responses on this forum attest to the fact that these gifts are difficult to see, much less offer to others.

      October 17, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Rev.Rick, I apologize, you did not say "Only". Your statement Presumes that there is a God and to communicate with him/her/it one can use Prayer, I make no presumptions nor do I acknowledge the reality of a deity (without proof). I think we agree that one can achieve a goal without Prayer, worship, or meditation, if so then whats the point of a deity? If God makes no difference in the physical world and one can survive and succeed without a God (or the belief in a God) than I ask again what's the point in a God?

      October 17, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rev.Rick

      @ JohnQuest said, "...I make no presumptions nor do I acknowledge the reality of a deity (without proof)."

      Your statement is contradic-tory. You make so presumptions, but at the same time you do not acknowledge the reality of a deity without proof. So right away you presume there is no God. A fish, due to his limited intellectual ability, would probably never be convinced that water exisits, nor that's it necessary for his survival. I not comparing your intellectual ability to a fish, I am simply saying that simply as-suming something doesn't exist without proof, doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't. I see prayer and meditation as a spiritual tool and I choose to use that tool. Others, because they don't believe that man has a spiritual essence, choose not to use it, much less acknowledge such a tool exists. That doesn't make you wrong and make me right, it simply makes us different. I don't believe that you're going to hell and I'm not, mainly because I don't believe that hell (as a physical place) exists – nor do I believe in the devil as personified evil. Belief is a bell-shaped curve and we all fit somewhere on that curve, it's just that some "believers" are 3 sigma out, and they can be very annoying.

      October 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Rev.Rick, I agree " the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence" but it is an indication. I do not belittle you or anyone their faith, I don't understand it but I don't have to understand it. Sometimes I wish I had faith in the unknowable. I was in church yesterday, the service was refreshing and the preaching was inspiring, the congregation (my family and friends) were moved by the experience of it all, I enjoyed it at a distance, like the joy you feel when your best friend is accepted to Law School. Do I think we have a spiritual side to us, of course (we are more then the sum of our parts) but to believe that our spirit is reaching out to a God (that is actually there) is far beyond me.

      October 17, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • DMB

      I just wanted to say that I believe in God and the power of prayer because I have personally experienced positive results–miracles actually, in my own life. I didn't always know how to pray, but I've been learning a lot about God's heart and I've learned to take action and pray in a way that God does answer. Life has been amazing since I surrendered my will to His.

      October 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Rev. Rick

      @ JohnQuest – then perhaps we are not so much at odds. I certainly don't believe in the Abrahamic God – a God who sits in judgement of us and sends us to hell if we choose not to believe. I do not take the Bible, nor any holy text, literally. All scripture was written by men who, while perhaps "divinely inspired" were still men just the same, with their own problems, agendas and socio-political perspectives on who or what God is. God is there for us only to the extent that we acknowledge (or ignore) His presence.

      October 18, 2011 at 7:24 am |
    • Not so sure.

      @Rev. Rick – "The supreme gifts we should cultivate are compassion, love and forgiveness."
      So, does your compassion apply to all? If those are the "supreme gifts", are they also characteristics of your god and savior? If so, are we all welcome in your heaven...h0m0$exual$...blasphemers? It's all "warm and fuzzy" until you start talking about groups such as these, eh?

      October 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  8. LordSauceness

    Why not write about the prayers god NEVER answers? Such as re growing a severed limb or healing severly damaged nerves? No matter what religion or non religion you are, nobody ever grew back a limb....intersting.

    October 17, 2011 at 4:51 am |
  9. jmb2fly

    God is an Awesome God! Creator of Heaven and Earth!

    October 17, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Carl Sagan

      October 18, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • jmb2fly

      The evidence is all around you, and yes, truth prevails.

      October 18, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      And the evidence indicates that no god is necessary.

      October 19, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  10. Josiah

    John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.
    Luke 19:9-10 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
    Where did the Son of Man come from? Heaven
    What did the Son of Man come to save? Us
    So, Jesus lost us in the Kingdom of Heaven because we sinned against God.
    We were all once angels in the Kingdom of Heaven before we were sent to this sinful world.
    Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    We all deserve death but God has come to this earth to seek and save what was lost. God bless you all and open your eyes and understand.

    October 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  11. Matt

    Why don't you just prove a god or gods exist first? Yeah, we've been waiting for that evidence for some time, i.e., forever.

    October 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • David

      Exactly. He even explains how he first walked into a church as an eight year old and was mesmerized. Dont you think you were a little impressionable at 8 Jason?

      Was there ever a point in your life where you said, "Ok I can either choose to believe in the Christian God or not. Let's look at the facts and see what makes rational sense."

      Let me answer that for you. No.

      October 17, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ David .... you are using the words "facts" and "rational" as related to religion. It's never going to happen. Copernicus tried, so did Gallileo. Look at what heppened to them because they used facts and scientific evidence. Religion cannot refute physical evidence once that evidence is found, although throughout history it really has tried to.

      October 17, 2011 at 4:10 am |
  12. Reality

    Dear Mr. Frenn,

    The Apostles' Creed 2010: (updated by yours truly using the studies of contemporary NT exegetes)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary.

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many local semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension story was promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    October 16, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  13. Love

    Of course God hears everyone. He loves everyone even though they dont know him. Including all you how ar laughing and spitting at this comment. God is awesome, he knows everything. I'm so glad I know him.

    October 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      yeah and that loving god sent us all those tsunamis and cancers and all. Face it, your god would be a really big ASS-HOLE if he actually existed, so just count yourself lucky that the god of your fables is just that, a fable.

      October 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  14. Mark Wolfson

    It just amazes me the number of people who still buy into the fiction that is the existence of the God of Abraham. It is without question, the greatest scam ever foisted on mankind.

    If only people would stop indoctrinating their children with these fairy tales, then perhaps these religions that pit man against man would hopefully just disappear.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • G Culver

      One can hope!

      October 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      My hope is that someday all the major religions become obsolete just like the religions of antiquity. Unfortunately, I don't believe it is going to happen in our lifetime. We are only in the beginning stages and that is rather exciting – laying the groundwork for future generations to build upon. Keeping church and state separate is imperative along with better education.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  15. Lee

    He listens to American republicans right?

    October 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • hokahey

      Unless they are evangelicals. They tell him what he ought to believe.

      October 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  16. Richard Washington

    How do people like this get published on CNN?

    If anyone made any kind a claim which was so obviously not true and not backed up by any evidence then they would never be allowed to report it on CNN.

    October 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      This area of CNN Is the "Belief Blog" and they can post whatever opinion pieces they want. Some of the different view points reflected in the comments are interesting to read.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  17. Jonesey

    Are you interested in the topic of religious tolerance? Go to www dot religioustolerance dot org.

    October 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Tolerance is great, for the religious. That tolerance must not be extended to lies told in the guise of "learning" in public schools.

      October 16, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  18. Muneef

    GOD listen to those who ask him forgiveness & repent;

    Sahih International
    Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then presented in detail from [one who is] Wise and Acquainted. (11:1).

    [Through a messenger, saying], "Do not worship except Allah . Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings," (11:2).

    And [saying], "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him, [and] He will let you enjoy a good provision for a specified term and give every doer of favor his favor. But if you turn away, then indeed, I fear for you the punishment of a great Day. (11:3).

    To Allah is your return, and He is over all things competent." (11:4).
    -----

    Sahih International
    And O my people, ask forgiveness of your Lord and then repent to Him. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in showers and increase you in strength [added] to your strength. And do not turn away, [being] criminals." (11:52).
    -----

    Sahih International
    And said, 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. (71:10).
    He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers (71:11).
    And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. (71:12).
    What is [the matter] with you that you do not attribute to Allah [due] grandeur
    (71:13).
    While He has created you in stages? (71:14).
    ----

    October 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Muneef.. your god my forgive you but your muslim cohorts will not...become an atheist and understand the real world and see how really wonderful it is. but unfortunately you will know what would most likely happen to you and your family if you declared mo as a myth.... .

      October 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Muneef

      Who should care or fear any other than GOD is a hypocrite...!

      October 17, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • TruthPrevails

      "Who should care or fear any other than GOD is a hypocrite...!"

      Pot calling the kettle black! Hypocrisy has its roots at christianity!

      October 18, 2011 at 7:32 am |
  19. oneone

    God lets bad people kill at will.

    The devoted they say it’s because of “free will”.

    Then why do they pray, and pray, and pray?

    For god to help them, day after day?

    Do they want their god to improve their fate?

    Of their own “free will” do they ask god to negate?

    “Free will” for us all…, from the god of peace!

    Who sends us to hell for a “wrong” belief.

    October 16, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • TwoTwo

      god will punish the merciless, and repay the merciful with love.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Mirosal

      You're using a book written 1400 years ago to "prove" that this "god" of yours is real. I have a bible, and I have a qu'ran .... they make for funny bedtime stories. If you continue to tell us this "god" is real, then the onus (burden of proof) is upon you. Please refer to "Russel's Teapot" for further info on that.

      October 17, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  20. jim

    Show me a man who is accepting of other people's religions and I'll show you a man who doesn't really believe his own.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • John Richardson

      Well, that'd be one step in the right direction.

      October 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Samsword

      I do. 🙂

      October 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • BRC

      Or that man could just be willing to allow others to have their own beliefs. Maybe that man realizes that we're all just guessing, and as a well grounded human, he has his beliefs, knows his beliefs, is will to talk to others about his beliefs, and at the end of the day understands that if noone else believes the same thing, it only affects them. If he's right, then he gets teh eternal reward and they don't, why should he care?

      October 17, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Jim, I would have to disagree.

      I think, in fact, the opposite is true. Only a person secure in their own faith, who has questioned it and shaken it down and lived it to the point of knowing that it serves them and is strengthened through experience can possibly feel no need to have any other share that belief. Only someone secure in what they believe is free to "allow" others the same.

      October 17, 2011 at 11:07 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.