By Daniel Hyde Appiah
Daniel is the president of Full Stature Missions based in Accra, Ghana. He is also a member of the SVM2-Ghana Advisory Council.
Most Christians don’t pray for global mission as they ought to because they do not know how. Praying for global mission is a military campaign. And just as it is essential for an army in order to have success in any warfare plan to systematically, consistently and sporadically bombard some specific target from the land, air and sea, so it is for us to systematically pray for global mission with all understanding.
Praying for global mission is not begging God to do what He’s not willing to do; rather it is enforcing Christ’s victory over Satan.
Further still, people don’t take praying for global mission and message bearers serious because of some misgivings and misconceptions.
From the answer to questions, discussions and contributions given in various working sessions, following points were considered as reasons why people don’t pray for global mission.
1. Ignorance and Lack of Information
Many people are unaware of what global mission is all about; global mission is the primary reason for the existence of the church on earth and it is the very heartbeat of God. Therefore people perish for lack of knowledge (adequate information).
2. Inferiority Complex
Some people feel inferior to pray for message bearers because they consider them (the message bearers) as superior and super-spiritual human beings who should rather pray and bless them. Therefore, they see no reason of praying for them or the work.
People don’t pray for global mission and message bearers due to poor church background. They have not been taught of the critical place of global mission and their churches rarely talk of praying for global mission and message bearers.
4. Lack of Commitment
Lack of commitment particularly on the side of the church to pray corporately, the members also will not see the importance of the need of being committed as individuals to pray for global mission and message bearers.
5. Selfishness or Self Interest
People, most of the time are self-centered and have no interest in praying for the need of other people, simply because they themselves are already burdened and discouraged due to the pressure of personal problems, hence they forget to pray for global mission and message bearers.
This is also another reason why people fail to pray for global mission. During a teaching period about prayer, people are geared and stirred up to pray, but as time goes on the interest or zeal begins to wane, and thereby many stop praying.
People don’t pray always as they ought to. They are not consistent. Sometimes they remember to pray, other times they forget to do so.
8 Wrong Assumptions
People don’t pray for global mission -the heartbeat of Almighty God, because they assume that someone else is already praying for them. Asking individuals whether they pray for global mission or not, a majority will raise their hands saying that they do. While many people on the other hand, will give reasons for not being consistent or not praying at all due to some of the above mentioned reasons
Why Pray for Missions?
Read the following texts and identify the reasons.
1. Romans 15:30:32
2. Galatians 6:7; 11 Corinthians 9:6
3. 2 Corinthians 1:10-11
4. Colossians 4:2-4
5. Luke 10:2, Matthew 9:38
Global mission is more than God’s people obediently serving Him. It is God at work. Either He is working in and through His people to accomplish His purpose, or nothing of value is accomplished.
Think of Paul at Philippi in Acts 16. He had followed God’s leading there, and he was faithfully witnessing and teaching about Jesus when Lydia believed. Lydia was one “whose heart the Lord opened,” Scripture points out. God led this message bearer to the right place, empowered him for witness, and created openness in the heart of the hearers so that “she attended unto the things which were spoken by Paul.”
Dennis Lane, OMF director, in an excellent booklet on prayer, God’s Powerful Weapon, describes the situation that is recorded in Matthew 9: 36-38 as “facing an impossible task with an inadequate force.” The impossible task involves multitudes of people – people who are harassed and helpless, described as sheep without a shepherd. They represent vast unmet needs.
When Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful,” He was painting a picture of an immense task, of much work to be done. Now the great tragedy of this situation is the inadequate work force for bringing in the harvest. Laborers are few, Jesus lamented.
What is to be done in this tragic situation? What is Jesus’ remedy for the fact that too few are willing to get involved in the task? “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.”
He commanded this! The answer is to call upon God to be active in the situation, to ask Him to torch hearts and to call His people to commitment and active involvement in the harvest.
The Apostle Paul, that great message bearer of the cross, often urged God’s people to pray for him. Obviously he clearly linked the success of his mission to the faithful prayer support of the saints of God. One of the clearest passages to bring this out is 2 Corinthians 1:8-11. Here it is in the New International Version:
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered, in the province of Asia. We were under pressure far beyond our ability to endure, so that despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayer of many.”
Notice the phases Paul uses to describe some of his experience as a message bearer: “hardships we suffered,” “under great pressure,” “beyond our ability to endure,” “despaired even of life.” But then he goes on to speak triumphantly of God’s deliverance. “God has delivered us,” Paul says. He is confident that God will continue to deliver “as you help by your prayers.”
Did you notice that last phrase? “As you help by your prayers,” Paul says. God is active in our lives – protecting, delivering, and using us for blessing others.
Then in the same verse Paul goes on to state, “that many will thank……for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” Do you see it? Do you see the inseparable link between prayer and global mission?
I do not presume to know where God wants you to serve in His global mission program. Whether He wants you to go – or rather, where he wants you to go – is something you must discover from Him. But I can confidently state it is His will for you, child of God, that you be involved in global mission through prayer.
None of us should dare to shirk from this opportunity and responsibility. Pray! And “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). “Men ought always to pray and not faint (Luke 18:1b).
How to Pray for Global Missions
Even though we know that God is so committed to seeing people saved, we still need to pray, and pray often and with considerable passion, enthusiasm and perseverance.
First, We Must Pray For Ourselves:
• For our minds to be opened to the reality of lost. (Revelation 20:11)
• For passion for the lost. (Luke 19:10)
• For doors opened by God. (1 Cor. 16:9, 2 Cor. 2:12, Acts 14:27, Col. 4:3, Rev. 3:8)
• For sensitivity to God’s guidance, (Acts. 8:26 onwards)
• For wisdom, as opportunities may not come where we expect and we often look in the wrong place.(James 1:5)
• For courage. (Eph. 6:19, Acts 4:29)
• For freedom for the Holy Spirit to do his work of convicting men. (Acts 1:8)
• For his words. (Isaiah 59, 21, Jer. 1:9)
• For a mentality of growth and harvest. (Matthew 13: 1-23, Isaiah 53: 10-11)
We Must Always Pray For People
Prayer is an expression of our love. The best kind of prayer picks up the longings of God and expresses them back to him with words. Paul guides us how to pray for people in 1 Tim. 2:1-3. “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.” 1 Samuel 12:23
We Pray in Spiritual Warfare
Although the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, prayer will open those unseeing eyes and rescue men from Satan’s power so that they may be forgiven by God and join his family. 2 Cor. 4:4, Acts 26:18. We have to pray against Satan’s work to hold back men, money and materials to advance the gospel. Ephesians 6:12.
In fact, so tight is his grip that Jesus told us to ask God to thrust workers into the harvest fields. Thrust is a word that implies some pushing forward! 2 Corinthians 2:11; Matthew 9:38