prayer: the only way
3/25/2006 04:46:00 PM

I've been reading a book Focus: The Power of People Group Thinking, and in that book, they place a huge emphasis on prayer. So many times, I've viewed prayer as a lame excuse to not do work, or a way to fill a mission trip when there was nothing else to do. Rather than that, the first and foremost thing we should do as Christians is pray before ever considering going into the lost world. Prayer is one of the most practical things we can do as people of God. The book gives 9 reasons for prayer, and they are:

  1. God desires and requires intercepting prayer for the accomplishment of His saving purpose for peoples of the earth.
  2. Victory in the spiritual realm is primary, and it is won by prayer.
  3. Prayer has always under-girded and extended the missionary outreach of the church.
  4. Spiritual revivals wrought by prayer have had major impact on frontier missions.
  5. intercepting prayer enables God's children to possess their inheritance, the peoples of the earth.
  6. Effective mission strategies come from research immersed in prayer
  7. Prayer is supernatural way of multiplying and sending out Christian workers into frontier missions.
  8. Prayer opens closed doors for occupation by Christian presence
  9. aggressive praying or "spiritual warfare" praying breaks the control of powers of darkness over people groups, cities and nations.
On the topic of spiritual warfare, John Piper uses the analogy of the prayer being a "wartime walkie-talkie." In his book, Let the Nations Be Glad, he says,

Probably the number one reason prayer malfunctions in the hands of believers is that we try to turn a wartime walkie-talkie into a domestic intercom. Until you know that life is war, your cannot know what pray is for. Prayer is for the accomplishment of a wartime mission. It is as through the field command (Jesus) called in the troops, gave them a crucial mission (go and bear fruit), handed each of them a personal transmitter coded to the frequency of the General's headquarters, and said "Comrades, the General has a mission for you. He aims to see it accomplished. And to that end he has authorized me to give each of you personal access to him through these transmitters. If you stay true to his mission and seek his victory first, he will always be close as your transmitter, to give tactical advice and to send air cover when you need it."

But what have millions of Christians done? We have stopped believing that we are at war. No urgency, no watching, no vigilance. No strategic planning. Just easy peace and prosperity. And what did we do with the walkie-talkie? We tried to rig it up as an intercom in our houses and cabins and boats and cars, not to call in firepower for conflict with a mortal enemy but to ask for more comforts in the den.

It has become apparent to me that prayer is necessary and mandatory if we are going to accomplish the Great Commission. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

Additional Reading on Prayer and Missions:

Prayer: The Work of Missions

A Call to Advance God's Kingdom

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