I recently had the opportunity to speak at a district prayer summit. The subject was “The Mandate of Praying for Missions.” Having been overseas and seeing first hand the need for prayer, I felt fairly qualified to speak. With my color-coded notes, PowerPoint presentation, Bible and love for missions, I made my way to pulpit.
What happened next wasn’t quite what I expected.
I did share my heart. I gave supporting facts and scripture references. This day, my sole purpose was to put the fear of God in those who did not pray for missions and start a mighty move of prayer in this district. I just knew that before I was done the entire district would be revolutionized and converts of missions’ prayer.
When I finished speaking and looked up from notes expecting to see hundreds having thrown themselves over the altar, as you might imagine, it wasn’t quite that way.
Some did respond. While no one ran crying to the altar, the look on a few faces seemed to indicate that for some, a light bulb came on. I felt somewhat pleased that with God’s help, perhaps I had been able to convey what I felt was so important.
I found out that a missionary was going to be in this service. I made contact with them ahead of time and asked if they would take the last few minutes of my session and tell from a missionary’s perspective, why they need our prayers. They agreed.
I stood there and wept as I heard this missionary from the Middle East begin to tell why they needed and depended on our prayers. I watched tears flow down their face as they shared their heart. They told of the strongholds and darkness that they face on a daily basis. Of the sheer exhaustion of trying to battle with these strongholds day after day, while trying to lead multiple churches, evangelize new converts, stay out of harms way, have time for family and still take care of their personal relationship with Christ. Suddenly my heart ached too.
While I didn’t run and throw myself over the altar, I must confess, I wanted to. Thinking of all the times I ‘felt’ impressed to pray and didn’t, all the times that I went throughout my daily prayer time and had not prayed for one missionary, all the times I had read the newspaper or heard news reports of trouble and conflict in areas where we have missionaries and had not whispered one prayer, made me feel less than saved.
My facts and statistics paled in comparison to looking into that missionary’s heart. While I may not have started a mighty move of prayer for missions in this particular district, something did start in me and I will never be the same. For some time I have had the concept of Kingdom Praying in my head, this day, I got it in my heart.
Lisa Marshall, Strategic Prayer Coordinator World Network of Prayer