Mission Insight 5
Missions Insight 5
Prayer Is A Supernatural Act With Supernatural Results
As you may well remember, if you’ve been following this series of posts, I am attempting to examine some of the truths I learned while on a recent Missions Trip to Tuxtla Gutierrez Mexico. This week’s post is simple, but profound. Prayer is a supernatural act, with supernatural results. As believers we know this. We believe this. But I wonder how often we actually practice it.
This truth became evident to me while we were walking the streets of Tuxtla. Each day we would walk our designated block, going from home to home and sharing the Gospel. All around us, as we passed side streets and alleys, we could see others in our group doing the same thing. For a week, everywhere you turned in this neighborhood, you saw people meeting, sharing the Gospel, engaging in Gospel conversations, and inviting people to church. I’m ashamed to admit that I was shocked at the outcome of most of those conversations, especially conversations between two native speakers. By and large, most people who were invited to church, or invited to accept Christ, did so. This was especially true amongst the locals who were already members of the church we were serving. I wondered if it was the language barrier, or the cultural barrier that kept me from being equally successful until I realized, it was actually a prayer issue. Frankly, they had prayed about this week, and for these people, more than I had. I am a pastor, a church planter, and a husband. I am bi-vocational. I help lead worship. I write this blog. Overall, I’m a pretty busy guy. That’s not a complaint, or even a humble-brag. It’s just true. And the sad truth is, I was not, to use the evangelical lingo, “prayed up,” for this trip. I had not prayed the way I should about people coming to Christ. I had not prayed as I should about the work we would be doing, and the people we would be meeting. My prayer life, in this regard, was quite weak. And it showed.
The nationals on the other hand, were passionate about their work. It was evident that they had been praying, and were continuing to pray for a great harvest. Everyday I saw them huddle in a group to pray. Everyday I saw them praying over their address list. And frankly, their prayers were answered. Each evening more and more people showed up at the church service, and more and more people’s lives were being changed. It was amazing. It was incredible. It was supernatural. And why shouldn’t it be? Prayer itself is a supernatural act. Wonder of wonders, we are talking to the Almighty God, Ruler of Heaven and Earth, the Alpha and Omega. He is seated in the heavens, doing whatever He pleases, and yet He takes time to hear from me. That’s a miracle. It’s supernatural. If I’m not willing to recognize that, then I am not going to have a very productive prayer life. If I’m not spiritually attuned to that truth, then it’s no wonder my work suffered, and my results were disheartening. James 4 tells us…
James 4:2b-3 You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
If I understand this verse correctly, and I think I do, then it means that my prayers go unanswered for two reasons: Either I haven’t actually prayed for the thing, or else I’ve prayed and asked for the wrong thing, or for the right thing but for the wrong reasons.
So what does that mean for us as a Church? First, it means we’ve got to know what we ought to be praying for. Scripture is replete with things we ought to be praying for, but for the sake of brevity and focus, let’s agree to pray for two distinct needs. 1) We should pray that lost people in our community would come to know Christ (Matt. 28:16-20). 2) We need to pray for workers to lead those lost people to Christ (Matt. 9:38).
The second thing we’ve got to commit to do, is to actively, and obediently be praying for these things. As James tells us, it’s not enough to know what we ought to be praying for, if we’re not actually doing it. So I ask you, as your pastor to join me in praying for that lost men and women in our community would come to know Christ, and that God would provide more and more people from our church, to be leading these people to Christ. If we will do this one supernatural act, I really do believe we will see supernatural results.