Answering the Call – The Urgency of the Task
Prayer and mission
|36 When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." |
We all know the priority that prayer has in nurturing our personal relationship with God. We read about Jesus praying and conclude that if it is important to him, it is important us. In fact, the disciples, realising the significance of prayer to Jesus and his relationship with the Father, ask Jesus to teach them to pray. The result is the much loved 'Lord's Prayer'. On regular occasions in the scriptures we are encouraged to pray (1 Thess 5:17, Rom 12:12, Eph 6:18, Col 4:2, Phil 4:6) and most often we equate this with our personal prayer life. This is good and right, but it is not the only context in which we are called to prayer.
How often do we pray together, as his disciples, for the ministry and mission field (our immediate context) God has called us to? Prayer is essential, indeed fundamental, if we wish to follow God's lead and seek the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in convicting hearts, healing lives and establishing his kingdom in new places and new ways.
We would be foolish to begin with strategies and analysis and plans for the work God has called us to if prayer, in particular asking God to lead us and send us, does not flavour everything we think and do as his disciples.
So, I would encourage you to be intentional in creating opportunities for the members of your congregation to pray to the Lord of the harvest. The form of prayer is not that important, whether it is regular prayer meetings, or prayer walks, or a focused period of prayer (40 says or a week), or days of fasting and prayer; the point is that prayer is essential, vital, to the work of God's mission in the world. Ask the Lord of the harvest.
Chris Judelsohn is the minister at Midrand Presbyterian Church which meets in the historic St Saviour's building. He is married to Keryn and they have three children.