We arrived in SE Asia, excited gospel messengers, ready for anything…or so we thought. My book, Shaped for Prayer Enjoyment opens with: If I had to put a label on the year 1980, it would be ‘Almost a failure’. And the language struggles, cultural challenges and spiritual headwinds didn’t disappear after year one. Yet, in our rear-view mirror we see four decades of God’s amazing provisions, breakthroughs, harvests and changed lives. BIG thanks to the Lord! But we might have missed out on many of those stories if not for faithful partners who understood the power in praying for Glory.
That raises some questions.
If God called us here, and promised his presence would carry us through every difficulty and give us ministry fruit, why do we need people praying for us?
The Lord makes promises, and then involves the prayers of his people in their outworking. That doesn’t take anything away from his power and faithfulness to do exactly what he promised. It highlights how deeply he loves us. He has joined us to himself in a magnificent ‘partnership of unequals’. We’ve been cleared and licensed for top-level participation in the great mission of Father, Son and Spirit! He has connected the outworking of his perfect plans to our imperfect praying…. because he loves us too much to not involve us.
He was a gifted apostle, motivated, certain of his call and confident of fruit. But Paul understood that God had blended prayer into the outworking of plans for his life and ministry. So he kept asking for people to pray for him. And he reminded them that their praying was critical to those plans, including rescue from life-threatening situations. *
Because prayer is so integral to Christ’s mission, he has vested it with power as great as his Name and a reach as big as his love (Eph 3:18-20).
But, there’s another question.
There are so many important prayer needs, so why single out the power in praying for Glory?
Information helps shape effective missional prayer, but an overload can stifle it.
Mission newsletters are good channels of information, but they are not always well-organized, concise and clear. And many find it overwhelming trying to cover all the prayer points. World news is also a good prayer catalyst. But here too, the info volume and scope can be so distracting that we settle for simply being news watchers rather than news pray-ers. Our biggest challenge is not collecting prayer info, but filtering it.
In praying for ministries and messengers we need time for prayer admin. That includes filtering information. Less and deeper is better than wide and superficial. A good filtering question is: How does this connect to Christ’s Glory? Meaning, in what way will the answer to this prayer point draw attention to who Christ is, what he is like and what he had done to display that? Filtering can be done with any type of prayer need – general, pastoral or strategic.
By keeping the main issue in focus, instead of navigating a long list of prayer requests, we instead have a few avenues that lead our prayer traffic into the great point of it all: for Christ’s Glory to be known! And there’s power in that, because it’s an eternal theme blended into the outworking of his plans and promises.
But, as shared in a previous blog post, Praying about Glory gets bigger, the passion for his Glory to be known will be an overflow of our passion to know his Glory.
Schedule some prayer admin time into your busy week.
- Do you have channels for receiving information that helps your missional praying (missionary updates, social media feeds, blog posts….)? Review them. Any changes needed? What new, useful channels can be opened? Note: Operation World (or download the app) is an excellent info resource for praying for nations.
- Plan what mission ministries and people you will focus on. Prepare to blend your praying with the Lord’s plans for them by gathering information.
- How will this serve the Glory of Christ? Use the question to filter and shape your info for prayer. Add relevant anchor scriptures.
- Thank the Lord daily for giving you this top-level participation in his great mission!
*Rom 15:30-32, 2 Thes 3:1-2, Phil 1:19, 2 Cor 1:10-11, Phm 22