Hello everyone! Hope you have had a wonderful start to your week! If you are a student finishing up the school year, then good luck with finals! You are almost done 🙂 For the next two weeks I am going to talk about prayer and why it is foundational to missions. Specifically this week I would like to remind us about what we receive by praying about the Great Commission and then next week I will talk about how that prayer changes us.
Let’s start by looking at the Great Commission in scripture (Matthew 28:18-20)
In verse 18, Jesus begins by saying that “all authority” has been given to him, which is why he says in verse 19 to therefore go and make disciples. Guys, mission hinges on the power and prescience of Jesus! When we pray, we are inviting the King of The Universe into our lives to work through us and in the lives of those around us. And because we know that Jesus is in control of literally everything we can pray confidently!
I think sometimes it is easy for us to think of prayer as a last resort or simply as just “not that helpful”, at times it can feel intangible, we can’t really calculate the results….I don’t think I am the only person who has ever thought, “I wish I could do more, but I’ll just pray about it”. I would contend that as tempting as it may be to think this way, it is not in sync with what the bible tells us. God IS listening to our prayers and IS actively responding to our requests in the way He knows is best.
Let’s look at Luke 18:1-6
Jesus tells us that we need to pray persistently. He tells a parable about how an unjust judge answers requests to contrast the way God answers prayers. Friends, if even an unjust judge would grant a petition to a woman simply because she refused to let it go, surely God will pay attention to the persistent requests of the children He loves!
In the book of Acts we can see that when this persistent form of prayer is implemented, God moves in awesome ways. God was (and still is!) faithfully and powerfully at work, spreading the gospel and answering our requests.
Take a look for yourself:
Acts 1:14, The disciples were praying before Pentecost, 3,000 souls are saved
Acts 2:42-47, The church was devoted to prayer, God added believers to their numbers daily
Acts 12:12,Peter was in prison and fellow believers were praying for him, after Peter is miraculously freed , he returns to Mary’s house and interrupts a prayer meeting for his release!
Acts 13:1-3, They prayed before Paul was sent out, the church begins to multiply greatly all around the world!
And scripture is not even the only place we see God answering persistent prayers for the spread of His name! There are testimonies from his followers from all times and all places about how God answered their prayers and saved others.
Even I can testify about this in my own context at the University of Maryland. Yesterday a good friend of mine got baptized. I have known her for about six months and had the opportunity to share the gospel with her and watch her come to faith in Christ. Multiple people in my church were part of this process- she had a ton of questions and was very skeptical! We answered her questions (sometimes) but ultimately I knew that there was nothing that I or any other person could have done or said to convince her to believe in Jesus. Can you guess what we did? Yep, we prayed for her! And not just once, but daily, we begged God to move in her life and reveal Himself to her. And God was faithful, his Spirit worked through us and in her heart to show her truth and allow her to come to salvation in Christ.
Prayer is absolutely foundational to the Great Commission. It is essential that we pray for our context and those who do not know him. Pastor J.D. Greear says that “when we think of praying to God, we should think of it as praying with God. He’s already shown us his will and his promises in Scripture.”
Jesus already came to restore our relationship with God, He paid the price for our sins and wants everyone to come to salvation in Him. Based on what Christ has already done, we know He is more than able to answer our prayers. He wants others to come to know Him! When we pray, we are inviting the King of The Universe into our lives to work through us and in the lives of those around us. What could possibly be more essential than that?!
So my question for you this week is have you prayed about it? For your context? For your world, community, family, friends…?