Week of Tuesday, August 4th
25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. – John 21:25
They are the last words written in the Gospel of John and a truth that we should never forget. If you’ve been in contact with anyone coming home from one of our recent trips, you’ll hear a similar story… God is moving… God is working… God is bigger than our “box”. We hear stories of God bringing new brothers and sisters into His family and stories of transformed lives. We hear stories of God softening hearts, preparing the way for His gospel to take root. We hear stories of how God has provided for, healed, and directed His broken, yet willing, people for the sake of Christ. We hear stories of our people wrestling with their call to “go” for much longer than 1 week – students and professionals awakening to the opportunities that already exist in their lives.
Not all of the stories are told through a rosy lens, however. There have been stories of difficult conversations & heartbreaking situations, of laborers tired and frustrated, of people afraid to reject allegiances of old. Stories of intense spiritual warfare, as the darkness is pushed back in places where it has claimed ground for generations. Let us remain steadfast in prayer, because the darkness is being pushed back! And this we know this to be true, the world could not contain the books it would take to tell of the things that Jesus did. And Jesus has not changed.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8
PRAYER FOCUS #1 – EYES SET ABOVE
- When we find ourselves praying for the nations, for people groups that have yet to hear the gospel, for God to send us into the world, where do we find our focus? On the Lord? On other people? On ourselves? Most likely, many of us have not even considered this question. However, it is so important consider as we allow God to shape and redirect our motivations, even as we pray. Only with our eyes set firmly on the things above (Colossians 3:2, Mark 8:34, Romans 8:6) will we be able to run the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).
- When we consider the greatness of this week’s scripture focus, let our hearts respond with worship and adoration before Him. However, at the same time, pray that the Lord breaks our hearts for the fact that many have not heard the name of Jesus. One famous author puts it this way, “Missions exists because worship does not.” Pray that God would deepen our understanding of His purpose in the world, His worthiness to receive glory from every tribe and tongue, and missions is ultimately for Him and Him alone. Ask God to use that truth to fuel a fire in us, for His glory to be known and for worship to be offered throughout the earth. Continue praying for worldwide revival… and that it would begin with you.
PRAYER FOCUS #2 – ESCAPING THE COMFORT TRAP
- Several weeks back, we discussed how Jesus warned that as His disciples were sent, they were to be sent as lambs among wolves (Luke 10:3). Only a deep desire for the glory of God above all else will sustain us in the midst of persecution, oppression, and rejection. None of these things sound comfortable, yet Jesus warns those who follow Him to expect them. As we pray for the Lord to send laborers from our church body, we need also to pray that he destroys our desire for comfort.
- God equips and empowers His church for the sake of the gospel through the promised Holy Spirit. He always has and He will continue to do so. As we face uncomfortable situations, uncomfortable possibilities and opportunities for the future, pray that we would yield our lives to His leading and step in faith upon the waters of the unknown – keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and trusting Him with our whole lives. (Matthew 14:22-33)
- Pray for those within our church that are currently wrestling with the idea of going and what that would look like for their lives (maybe that is you). Pray that “whatever they gain, they would count as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7)
PRAYER FOCUS #3 – READINESS
- Ask the Lord to give you a burning desire to know Him more. Not in an intellectual way, but in a deep and intimate way that affects how you live your life each day. We often ask to be “used by God.” This week, let’s pray even more so that we would be “useable.” Pray that as part of the full armor of God, we would fit our feet with “the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15)
- Believing in Jesus leads to proclaiming Jesus. Pray that God would increase our faith and destroy unbelief in our hearts. Pray that we would be a people that abide in Him deeply. Pray that the Lord would come against ways that our culture has lead to “privatized Christianity” taking root in our hearts and that we would live everyday as salt and light where we are. (Matthew 5:13-16)