One of my favorite conferences of the year in the life of a local church is missions conference! It’s a great time to fellowship with like-minded missionaries who have dedicated their lives to reach a particular country with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8)! Furthermore, there is great preaching and fellowship around the Scriptures! This year’s key-note speaker was Dr. Fred Moritz, who throughout the conference delivered several challenging messages. His concluding sermon Sunday night after the international dinner on how to biblically pray for missionaries and church planters is what I would like to outline for you in this post.
Pray for Power (2 Thess. 3:1) – Paul urged the believers to frequently lift up prayers so that “…the word of the Lord may have free course…” In other words, pray that missionaries will have many opportunities to present the gospel of Jesus Christ to lost people! It is a biblically thing to fervently pray that the Word of God will run free and spread rapidly in their place of ministry.
Pray for Protection (2 Thess. 3:2) – Paul requested prayer for safety “…from unreasonable and wicked men…” who were opposed to the truth of the gospel. We must pray that our missionaries have protection as they perform the Lord’s work.
Pray for Provision (2 Cor. 1:8-11) – Paul thanked the Corinthians “…for the gift bestowed upon us…” Sending people to the mission field isn’t cheap, but what a worthy and eternal investment! Along with financial support there are many other items (passports, housing, transportation, food, citizenship, etc) that must take place. It is a biblical thing to pray that the needs of our missionaries are met so they can focus on spreading the gospel.
Pray for Personnel (Matt. 9:35-38) – Finally, our Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated, in imperative mode, that “…the harvest is truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” It takes people to communicate the gospel (Rom. 10:14), therefore we must obediently and diligently pray that Christians will hear and answer the call to missions. The next generation of missionaries is only going to come from the local church that is faithfully praying.
When I saw this picture I was reminded of this awesome short story about my personal prayer life and walk with God.
Early African converts learned the importance of spending time in daily prayer. Each Christian would find a solitary place in the thicket where he could share his heart in privacy with the Heavenly Father. As time passed the pathway to their prayer place in the thicket would become worn. If a Christian neglected his prayer life others would soon notice by the fresh greenery growing on their pathway. A gentle rebuke and reminder was often used among them by tactfully saying, “Brother, there is grass growing on your path.”
No doubt, one of the most neglected privileges and powers of Christians today is prayer. When grass has grown over the paths of Christians, their lives become paltry [unimportant] and powerless; families become dysfunctional and divided; churches become insignificant and impotent; and the nation becomes profane and perverted.
Now its my turn to ask you, “Is there grass growing on your path?”
Have you ever started praying for someone and have no idea what to pray for?
Here are some common ways we “pray” for others…
“Lord, just be with Joe today…”
“Lord, help Sally have a good day…”
“God, I just pray for Rob today…”
Have you ever prayed like that for someone else? I certainly have. Take a few minutes and turn to Philippians 1:9-11 and learn how to specifically and biblically pray for the spiritual growth in others.
1) Pray for Abounding Love (v.9) – Pray that fellow Christians will have an abounding (overflowing, endless) and increasing love for God, Scripture, and others. Remember, you are always faithful to that which you love.
2) Pray for Excellent Choices (v.10a) – Begin praying that other Christians will mirror God in an excellent way in every decision they make. Pray that they will carefully study, passionately investigate, and wisely determine how each decision will best obey and please the Lord. No one is exempted from the mistake zone.
3) Pray for Internal Integrity (v.10b)– Diligently pray that others will live a Christ-like life that is pure (sincere) and blameless (without offense). Christians who are the real deal! A life that is genuine not only speaks volumes to others, but brings much glory the God!
4) Pray for Fruitful Living (v.11a) – Vigorously pray that other believers will depend on the Holy Spirit to produce a fruitful Christian life. Also see John 15:5 and Galatians 5:22-23.
The purpose in fervently praying for others’ spiritual growth is for “…the glory and praise of God” (v.11b). The chief purpose in life is to glorify God (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Cor. 10:31) so let’s stop the aimless prayers and start upholding each other in prayer the Bible way.
Now that you know how to specifically and biblically pray for the spiritual growth in others…go do it!
Photo above taken by: eyebiz (www.sxc.hu)