To answer this question, we would do well to first explore what Christian mission is. My definition for the sake of this reflection is that “Christian Mission is the deliberate proclamation of the Good News of the gospel.” This message comes with a personal invitation from God for all Christians to share the Good News. Matt 28 v18 – 20
In the western world a raft of crippling deceptions has created varying objections and at times hostility to the claims of Jesus. Christians by their presence, proclamations and persuasion require daily perseverance and commitment in sharing their faith.
How are we to stay on task in an environment of opposition? It is to this question that God provides His children with the gift of prayer. Prayer invites the presence of God that rewards us with clarity to God’s purpose for our lives. In missions and evangelism, it’s easy to become consumed with the desire to be, or appear to be, successful in our programs and activities. To this God responds by inviting us to pray individually or with others! Praying together removes the pressure for ‘success’ and it puts it back on God's shoulders.
When we pray “our Father in heaven,” we acknowledge God is sovereign and does what He pleases. When we pray for God to save someone, for the souls of friends, family and community, we are wisely acknowledging that God alone has the power to do so!
Why does this gift of prayer make so much sense in our pursuit of Christian mission?
1. When we pray to God for the salvation of friends & family, we realise that God's sovereignty is the key ingredient to mission success.
2. When we pray acknowledging God’s desire to save the lost (2 Peter 3:9), it diminishes our human limitation, reduces our anxiety while giving renewed energy for the message we are called to share.
3. Prayer for mission acknowledges that God is God, and we are not, so that we know with grateful hearts that our limitations are met with God’s provision.
4. Prayer acknowledges the presence of God allowing God to orientate our perceptions and clarify the action.
Consider the example of Jesus. Have you ever wondered why Jesus prayed? (Luke 5:16) Jesus prayed because securing the Good News of salvation at the cross necessitated that Jesus takes on the mantle of humanity. In this journey of securing our salvation, Jesus in submission and humility prayed constantly to God the Father. He prayed for wisdom and guidance in His earthly ministry. He prayed for others to come to know Him as Saviour and Lord. He prayed for the twelve disciples, that God would protect them from ‘the evil one.’ Jesus prayed for God to strengthen their ministry once He departed from them. He prayed with honesty and reverence. He prayed with joy and praise. He prayed that the Father’s will would be done.
The prayer of Jesus was the Father’s sustaining gift His humanity required that gave Him the resolve to fulfil His mission of providing a way of reconciliation, God with man! Prayer, for the mission of Jesus, was an essential gift.
If Jesus needed to pray, and He clearly did, what might this tell us about prayer’s priority for our lives and mission in our world?
My prayer for you is, unwrap this gift and see what God will do.
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