Read: Ephesians 6:18-20
At the present time, God has chosen to use our church as a sending church. We thank Him and praise Him for the trust He has placed in us. But a church that supports its missionaries does more than send a support check each month–a missions church covers its missionaries in prayer. This is an essential part of the responsibility God has given us. Listed below are several suggestions to help you be a better intercessor on behalf of our missionaries:
1. The Mission Field
A. Local/National Government. Pray that they will not be resistant to Christianity, and will allow evangelizing and conversions.
B. Unsaved Nationals. Pray that they will become dissatisfied with their present form of worship and that God will prepare the “soil” of the heart. Pray that God will keep Satan from blinding them to the truth.
C. Saved Nationals. Pray that they will be willing to openly profess their faith in Christ and to face whatever opposition may come. Also, pray that God will raise up godly men to provide strong leadership for the Christian community.
2. The Missionaries
A. A Prayer Covering at Home. Pray that God will raise up members from our church to form a strong prayer covering for the missionaries. At Grace, we call these groups Harvest Teams.
B. Their Relationship with God. Pray that the missionaries would be persons after God’s own heart and that their relationship with God will remain strong and always growing.
C. Good Health. Ask God to give the missionaries strength and the ability to withstand the pressures of living on the front lines of the “battle,” as well as a healthy emotional outlook.
D. Sufficient Finances. Pray that God will supply their needs according to His riches.
3. The Husband and Wife Team
A. Strong Relationships. Pray that each member will be loving, unselfish, respectful, understanding, honoring, and cooperative.
B. Good Education. Pray that God will provide a good education for the children and give wisdom to know when and where they need to go away for further schooling.
The above suggestions should place you on the road to becoming a great intercessor on behalf of our missionaries.
RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Pray that they will. . .
- Be men after God’s own heart. (Acts 13:22 and Psalms 42:1)
- Be men of the word. (Psalms 119:97, Colossians 3:16 & Psalms 119:11)
- Allow God to direct their every step. (Psalms 37:23)
- Have a growing, deepening relationship with God in prayer. (Psalms 37:4 & Psalms 63:1)
- Be spirit-filled men of faith and love. (Ephesians 3:14-19.)
- Have good health, strength, and endurance.
Pray that . . .
- Family members are loving, unselfish, respectful, and understanding. (Ephesians 5:25, 1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5:33; 6:1-2; 6:4.)
- Their families are a source of joy and blessing to one another. (Proverbs 23:24; 31:30; 20:7)
- They will have God’s constant protection and peace.
Pray that they will . . .
- Be devoted to prayer and the Word. (Acts 6:4)
- Intercede for and instruct the congregation. (1 Samuel 12:23 & Romans 1:9-10)
- Have a fruitful ministry. (John 15:16 & Colossians 1:28.)
- They will be able to handle with grace and patience, the many responsibilities they have.
- They will be sensitive to the leading of the Lord both as they prepare and as they speak, resulting in the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the message.
- They will have a strong, close, harmonious working relationship with those in leadership.
- The Lord will give them insights into the solution for problems.
- They will know how to counsel those who come to them for advice and help.
- The will equip the saints for service and discipleship. (Ephesians 4:11-12 & 2 Timothy 2:2)
- Be protected from the evil one. (2 Thesselonians 3:1-3)
Pray that . . .
- The congregation will pray regularly for each pastor and his family.
- The congregation will respect and guard as much as possible each pastor’s time with his family, especially in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
- The congregation will not impose standards on their children they do not expect from other children.
Read Matthew 6:9-13
Have you ever felt intimidated about prayer…especially in public? You may have caught yourself comparing yourself to your Sunday School teacher or some other spiritual leader. “I’ll never pray like that!” you tell yourself.
Maybe so, but you probably forgot to consider the level of maturity that believer may have reached. After all, we mature spiritually just like we mature physically…over a period of time. In many ways it would be like a five-year-old child comparing himself to his dad, and wondering why he can’t do the things dad can do.
There is no difference when it comes to prayer. Many levels, in fact, exist between “now I lay me down to sleep” and the most intense level of spiritual warfare. Consider the following:
Level 1: Beginner. This level is where a believer first starts to realize that it is possible to personally talk to God about those things of concern. Most of the focus is on one’s own immediate needs.
Level 2: Growing. As you develop in prayer, you will start to see growth. This will come as you start to reach out beyond yourself and your family and broaden your self-centered praying to include a wider scope of requests (e.g. missionaries, crime, the nation, etc.).
Level 3: Imitation. As you move on to the third level, you will become more aware of how others are praying. You may not feel comfortable praying out loud, but you should be sensing a greater desire to learn about prayer. This level is caught more than taught. As a result, you will want to start learning more about prayer by listening to sermons or reading books.
Level 4: Intercession. At this point, you should begin to find yourself with more of a burden to intercede (prayer on behalf of others). This burden causes you to want to spend more time in the Father’s presence and bring the needs of others to Him. Your prayers focus on His will and His perspective on the things for which you are praying. Another thing you will probably notice at this level is that prayer no longer seems like an obligation. In fact, you may be looking for more time to set aside to pray.
Level 5: Investigation. You will find your faith increasing to believe God can and will do what is asked for in prayer. There is a reaching out to believe for bigger and greater things. Added to the foundation already laid is the need to learn more from others about different aspects of prayer. People at this level often seek out prayer partners. As in previous levels, imitation seems to be the key to unlocking this level.
Level 6: Prayer Warrior. Here the term “spiritual warfare” is often heard. When you operate at this level, your faith and vision will really be at work. Not only are you willing to defend yourself and your loved ones against the attacks of the enemy, but now you “go against the gates of hell.”
Review the six levels of prayer described above. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where you are at, then pray for a burden to reach the next higher level. To build a “house of prayer” at Grace Church, prayer must begin in your home. How can you improve your prayer life?
Houston Miles, pastor of Evangel Cathedral, Spartanburg, South Carolina writes:
Renewal in our church came in 1971. It was a traditional Pentecostal church named First Assembly of God. It had run the same attendance for about fifteen years prior to my coming, and after 1968, when I took the church, there was still about the same number on Sunday morning–about 175. After three years I was beginning to get discouraged. I wasn’t seeing any growth in the church, and I gave serious consideration to quitting the ministry. But I thought that before I did, I should at least pray about it and wait a while and see what the Lord would do.
On January 1, 1971, I committed myself to prayer. I did everything I could think of to get the people in my church praying. We had prayer cells. We had an around-the-clock prayer chain on Tuesdays. On Sunday I asked for a show of hands: How many would get up thirty minutes early and pray? About 60 percent raised their hands. I organized prayer partners in the church; I instructed the people to get with a partner once a week. “Don’t gossip, but pray for the church, pray for the pastor, pray for your own needs.” So we prayed for about six months.
The first indication I had that God was doing anything was when people began to come in on Sunday nights. Our crowds on Sunday nights were larger than on Sunday morning, which is unheard of.
From there it just began to explode. We had hundreds of people pouring into our church. We didn’t anticipate it–even though we’d been praying for it. The Lord sneaked up on our blind side.
There was no way we could have organized what happened. Before we knew what was going on, the whole thing was just right off the launching pad. There we were with this revival on our hands. It lasted about four months. Almost every night from August to December we had church till about midnight.
After a month or so, I tried to close it down. One Sunday night I got up and said, “Well, we’ve been going about a month now. Everybody’s pretty tired. We’ve been to church every night till midnight. That’s enough. Let’s close it down.” But we came back Wednesday night for the mid-week service, and the place was packed out. We started up every night again!
Looking back on it, I believe we probably could have gone right through 1972. The momentum was there. During those months we saw hundreds of people won to Christ….
We have never been the same since. Today we have about twelve hundred people. (Excerpted from Power House by Glen Martin & Dian Ginter, p. 17-18.)
If someone asks you to tell them about Grace Church, what is the first thing you bring up? We have a good pastor? The music is inspiring? The friendly people? Our heart for missions? These are all good qualities, but they are not the defining qualities of a great church. Jesus said, “my house will be called a house a prayer.” (Matt. 21:13). Let’s not strive to be just a great church…let’s strive to be an extraordinary church. Let’s strive to be a house of prayer.