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The Forgotten Obligation in Missions, Prayer

Prayer is many times the last resort or the least respected method of getting involved in reaching the world with the Gospel. Many people say, “Sorry, all I can do is pray,” as if it’s a bread crumb we can throw towards the cause for missions. But how wrong we are! Jesus told us to see the need and then begin our efforts by praying (Matthew 9:36-38). When we pray, we get involved. It’s not necessarily what we are praying for, but Who we are praying to that is the key. We pray to the God of the harvest, the One who sent His Son for the lost.  Prayer, a last resort? No way! Start with prayer. Start crying out to God for the lost, for those going to tell the lost, for our children to be used of God and for our money and our efforts to be plugged into God’s plan for global missions. If we will truly and genuinely pray to God, maybe we ourselves will hear the whispers of the Lord of the harvest telling us to do all within our power to act. Prayer is the key that starts the engine. Prayer awakens the heart of God and makes aware the heart of man. It was Hudson Taylor, the great missionary of China, that said we can move man, through God, by prayer alone. When we pray, God moves, God’s children move and puzzle pieces begin to take shape.

Before my wife and I left for the mission field of Argentina, we prayed that God would prepare the hearts of the Argentine people. We knew we didn’t have the ability, the power, the strength or talent; we needed God to go before us. After we raised our funds, we moved to Argentina and changed our prayers from “God, please prepare the hearts of the Argentines” to “God, please send the people whose hearts you have prepared.” It sounds all too simple and maybe even unreal to many, but little by little God sent men and women to us to do His work. Lives were changed, marriages were saved, young men were called into ministry, churches were started, young people surrendered and the Gospel was proclaimed. The key? I can confidently tell you it was not me. It sounds too simple, but the truth was that we prayed and God moved. My story is not unique, it’s not the first time or the last time it can happen. God wants His children to call on Him. I’m confident that we have not because we ask not.

 

When God’s people pray, doors are opened, the devil is crippled, men are saved and God’s power is unleashed.  The power of prayer is not natural; it is supernatural. We can work in our own strength or work in God’s strength. We are not smart enough, rich enough or strong enough to do the work without God’s help. We need what only God can do, and that is made possible through prayer.

It has been said that all our problems are prayer problems. Think about it. Is money the reason you can’t get involved in world evangelism? Is fear of a tropical diseases or security the reason you couldn’t launch out and take the Gospel? Is the hope for fame, respect and fortune the reason you don’t want your child to become a missionary? Are there too many details that would need to work out for you to give, go or totally surrender to God’s plan of global evangelization? Whatever doubt, fear, or anxiety you may have, God is big enough to take care of it!  God can move paperwork, money, health and obstacles. The king’s heart is in God’s hand and God can move it however He sees fit (Proverbs 21:1). God can open the doors and remove all the obstacles. Our problems are in capable hands when we turn them over to God.

A missionary needs to raise funds, cross cultural barriers, learn a new language, obtain the appropriate paperwork, rent a building, gather people and prepare men to take his spot and advance the work. What do all of these have in common? They are all a challenge for us, yet they are all simple for God. Prayer is the key that unlocks and unleashes God to show His might.

The lost people still need to hear, missionaries still need to go and Christians still need to surrender to take the Gospel. How can all this happen? The simple yet profound answer is prayer. God’s children know a theory of prayer, but it must be exchanged for a practice in prayer. Our God is a big God that can do big things, and it’s time that God’s children experience His might through the power of prayer.

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