A crucial part of the CoJ vision is to be a congregation that is “world impacting.” The gospel message of forgiveness and freedom through faith in Jesus Christ is life changing good news and definitely worth sharing, beginning in our own back yard and extending to the far corners of the world. That means we’ve got work to do – a mission to accomplish. Why then are we talking about prayer? Talking to God seems so passive. Why spend time talking to God about the world when we could be talking to the world about God? What’s the connection between prayer and mission?
E.M. Bounds, a 19th century Methodist pastor and author, who ministered when the modern missionary movement was still relatively young, made no bones about the connection, saying, “The key of all missionary success is prayer” (Mission Maker Magazine, 2008, p.82). He compared the church that prays for its missionaries and the needs of the mission enterprise to the Old Testament characters, Aaron and Hur, who helped Moses ensure the victory for Joshua and the Israelite army against the Amalekites in Exodus 17. As long as Moses held forth the staff of God, the Israelite army was winning the battle. Conversely, if he lowered the staff of God due to fatigue, the tide turned in favor of the Amalekites. By holding up Moses’ hands when he became too tired to hold forth the staff of God on his own, Aaron and Hur played a key role in Israel’s eventual victory. Bounds concludes, “Therefore, the key (to missionary success) lies in the hands of the home churches,” presumably in whether or not they seize the initiative to pray for a spirit of mission to permeate their midst. Bounds took it one step further by saying that as important as money is in supporting mission work, “money without prayer is powerless.”
In Isaiah 62:6-7, the prophet speaks to God’s people saying, “I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes and makes her the praise of the earth.” Who will God raise up as the watchmen on our walls at CoJ? Who will faithfully and persistently call on the Lord (“give him no rest”) until He establishes His kingdom in our midst? I invite you to our prayer meeting at 6:45 PM on Wednesdays to pray for our mission as a congregation and for the missionaries who labor in foreign fields on our behalf. Also, so that you’ll have a more personal prayer connection with Andrew and Kris (Kvenild) Larsen, former members of CoJ and now serving in Taiwan, we’ll host a brief teleconference with Andrew during our worship service on November 18th.
In conclusion, I’m taking the words of E.M. Bounds to heart when he said, “A person who can pray is the mightiest instrument Christ has in the world.” As people who can pray, you and I are potentially part of that powerful force for the Kingdom. Let’s allow Him to use us in that way.