Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Prayer - The Greater Work

Today, perhaps you are wondering how you can be involved in mission. There is a very powerful way you can be involved – prayer. You don’t even need to leave home to do it. Oswald Chambers once said “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work”.

There was this old lady named Dorothy Clapp in the 1950s. Everyday she prayed faithfully that God would use the students across her home to touch the world. Eventually God answered her prayers. One of the students was George Verwer, a name familiar to you. I heard him preach at a mission conference and also in our church. George told us, “This lady near my high school, put my name her Holy Ghost hit list. She not only prayed that I'd become a Christian, but she prayed that I'd become a missionary and then she sent me this Gospel of John through the post.” The rest is mission history. George went on to start Operation Mobilization and through the Logos 2 and Doulos ships brought the gospel message to millions of people world-wide. The successor ship to the Doulos is the Logos Hope where two young men from our church, Greg and Daniel, are serving right now.

There are many other such prayer testimonies but the bottom line is, prayer works! Things happen when God’s people pray faithfully. Where do we start in praying for missions? Matt 9:38 is a good start, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”. Our church is already supporting some missionaries. Perhaps the time has come to pray for more of our own missionaries, beside Greg and Daniel, to go out. God’s method for preaching the gospel is not merely programs, pamphlets or radio although these mediums are helpful and effective. His primary method is to send people. Pray for missionaries that are in the field. Read their prayer letters and pray for their concerns. I used to send out prayer letters every month when I ran a home ministering to drug addicts in the Philippines. It always meant a lot to know there were people faithfully praying for me. Pray for our field missionaries’ children, their spouses, their health, their well-being, etc. It is very easy for us to forget missionaries are also normal people. They have the same fears as we do. When I was in the Philippines, I too struggled with stress, loneliness and anxiety. Normal people do that when they are transplanted out of their comfort zones. We need to recognize that and so we need to pray for our missionaries. Let them know they do not stand on their own.

We should pray for countries where people have never heard of God’s great love and we should also pray for people to go and tell them. Pray for open doors for the gospel – open opportunities, open hearts, open minds – willing to receive. The OM ships are able to go into many countries and send teams ashore because of many people praying for their mission. George Verwer understood the need for prayer. At one mission conference, he would stand at the exit door. As we were leaving, he would shake our hands as we were leaving and then give each person a prayer letter.

We cannot change people’s hearts. Only God can, so we must be willing to pray for our mission, missionaries and mission fields.