“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
God’s mission proceeds from our prayers! He expands His kingdom! When we pray for God’s mission it is like we are praying the gospel to ourselves. And God answers our prayers. He expands the influence of His gospel.
Where there are movements of believers planting churches on earth today, they were preceded by movements of prayer for God to accomplish His mission among those peoples.2 When we stop praying, when we relegate prayer to the fringes of our church practice like the temple managers of old, God’s mission is diminished. More than eighty years ago, Helen Barrett Montgomery said it well, “Now the Bible, which is the vehicle of the gospel, brings to light an inner message of prayer which is dynamic. The Bible may bring the knowledge of Christ to a nation or individual, but if there is no appropriation of prayer-power there is no life, no movement. It is important that men should know the gospel, it is more important that they should pray the gospel. If they pray, the gospel proceeds; if they do not pray the gospel halts. Its victories are wholly wrought by prayer; its defeats proceed from prayerlessness. Praying for God’s mission and His missionaries is the most strategic endeavor of the church.
–Adapted from Chapter 66 of Giving Ourselves to Prayer (Strategic Prayer for God’s Mission and Missionaries) by Mike Barnett
Lord, forgive Your Church for our prayerlessness. We have relegated the activity and power of prayer to the opening and closing of meetings and to a few quick moments of prayer within our worship services; we have not gripped the handle of our sword and wielded it against the enemy of Your purposes. Your word is powerful, and when we pray it back to You, Your heart is moved to respond! Give us a passionate desire to seek Your face individually, as families, and as Your Body, the Church, breathing life that fuels Your mission on this earth!
Praise the sovereign one who works out everything for his own ends (Prov. 16:4). Thank God for determining your steps (16:9). Confess any area where you may be doubting that his leading is best. “Commit to the LORD whatever you [are planning to] do,” knowing that then “your plans will succeed” (16:3). Ask the Lord to alter any plans that are not fully in line with his best.
Pray that Christians’ generosity will shine beautifully in the darkness of our materialistic culture. Ask God to draw many through this light to exchange their trinkets for his true treasure.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
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