Prayer Thought: Praying the Church Back to a Renewed Missions Focus
“If you have never had any distractions you don’t know how to pray.”
One of the single greatest gifts given by our Heavenly Father besides salvation is that we have been chosen by Him to pray. At no other time in this life are we able to be more intimate with the Father in when praying in His presence. That being said, the church needs to be THE people who take prayer seriously.
Unfortunately, due to our ever-increasingly distracted culture, God’s people have lost sight of the Great Commission. The church has to get back to a renewed focus, a bold perseverance, a restored excitement for discipling the nations. Churches devoted to intense prayer see God doing incredible things through their mission efforts. So, how do we get our churches back to a renewed focus on missions? By creating a culture of effective, impenetrable, and life-altering prayer that gets people excited about how God answers the prayers of His faithful people.
Fervent, faith-rattling prayer changes us in such a way that we are better equipped to do God’s work. Here are a few prayer steps to get your church reengaged in missions:
- Get a missions prayer ministry leader– None of these other things will work or matter without a solid prayer ministry leader. We can’t stress this enough. This should be a pastor OR a lay-leader with a heart for prayer in ALL facets of ministry. People want to be a part of something others are excited about, so why not bold and effective prayer, led by someone who leads well.
- Regular monthly focus on a missionary– Each month pick a new missionary/ or missionary couple and pray for them. Find out their needs, where they serve, what the needs of the people are that they serve…etc. Pray each day for a specific portion of info you gather.
- Pray for a specific place- Get a copy of Operation World for your prayer ministry group and ask the Lord to impress on your hearts how and what to pray for a specific country.
- Turn painful distractions into life-giving prayer- The body of Christ, the Church, is hurting. Often life doesn’t make sense. But that is where we need to ask the Lord to help us persevere even through the pain…whatever it may be (see the Merton quote above). The gospel is at stake, people’s very souls are at stake, so pray through the pain and become a selfless servant for missions.
- Get alone and be still- Again, in our ever-increasing distracted world it is very difficult to get alone with God and be still. Spending this concerted time in prayer gives you the beautiful gift of getting to know the heart of God intimately. When the church teaches her members a proper closeness with the Father, our minds become clearer to His purposes.
Missions is pointless without the gospel. And the gospel would never have the poignant potency it has without prayer. God’s praying people have the opportunity to impact thousands of lives for the Kingdom. By encouraging the church to powerfully stand united, focused, and praying for missions, we will propel the Great Commission to its proper place once more.
Go talk to your missions pastor about getting involved in praying for the missionaries your church supports. If your church doesn’t have a missions pastor, talk to the pastor about the need there is for Kingdom praying for missions and to the ends of the earth.
Clayton J. Elliott, Kontaktmission USA
Director of Pastoral Ministries and Prayer