Hey everyone! Happy Memorial Day! Hope you are enjoying your extra day off! Hope you will also spend some time thanking God for those who served and for those who still are protecting our country.
Last week we talked about prayer and why it is foundational to missions: Prayer invites the power of God to work in our lives; through us, our situations and in the hearts of the people we know. Remember, Jesus has, all authority- He is all powerful, He controls everything, He is more than able to answer our prayers and will answer them in the way He knows is best (which, by the way, might not always be when or how we expect!) The power of God is the only thing that will allow us to complete the Great Commission- We need Jesus to work! We need to pray!
And, as awe inspiring as inviting the power of God into our lives is, it’s not the only benefit to praying! There is more!
Prayer also changes us.
Think about it:
When we intercede for people and places the way Jesus describes in Luke 18:1-6, with unwavering persistence, our hearts will change. Prayer will create a burden in our lives. It only makes sense- when you talk about something a lot, it becomes more important to you. Similarly, as we pray for the Gospel to reach the world, the Great Commission will become even more important to us. As we continuously pray for others, God will further open our eyes to their brokenness, and their needs. Through prayer, God will NOT allow us to be indifferent but rather God will show us how to have a deeper, Christ-like love for others.
This brings me to my second point: Prayer, which creates a burden in our hearts will then create an intentional heart.
Let’s look at Nehemiah for an example of this:
In Nehemiah 1, we learn that Nehemiah was informed about Jerusalem’s decrepit condition and is deeply troubled by it. In response to what he hears, Nehemiah wept and prayed for days (Nehemiah 1:4). Then in chapter 2 we see that Nehemiah’s prayers only increased his burden for Jerusalem. So much that he in fact decided to make a plan and do something about it! He submits his plan to God (Nehemiah 1:11) and then he goes through with it by petitioning to the king (Nehemiah 2:5-8). Through prayer, Nehemiah was moved towards intentionality, to help others, to restore his city.
And this is exactly what God still does with us today! Here is an example from my own life:
In March, I went to Panama City Beach in Florida during spring break for a mission trip. I was there with about 300 other students from college ministries from around the country and our goal was to share the gospel with other college students. Other college students who wanted nothing to do with Jesus- they were there to drink and party. Prayer completely changed the way I viewed these students. Instead of only thinking of them as “crazy college kids”, I could see how similar I was to them, I saw how broken they were and how much they needed a Savior. I understood that they were using alcohol and drugs to find meaning and acceptance and my heart was filled with sadness for how lost they were. This emotional burden is something that God gave me because I was praying for them. And because I was so distressed by their brokenness, I wanted to help them, I wanted to share the gospel with them. And I did, but only because God moved my heart to intentionality through prayer.
Bottom line is that prayer WILL change you. We become people of mission through interceding for the world we live in. Prayer burdens us and burdens will lead us to make changes.
So who are you praying for? What are you praying for? Make a list! Pray! Pray! Pray! And expect for God to move and use you too!