4 Lessons from my first week of Prayer Ministry

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Last week I committed myself to the ministry of prayer in a way I never have before. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve prayed before. A lot. Prayer is vital, essential, and top priority in my life and in our family.

However, last week we began sending out support letters to all of our family, friends, and acquaintances. In doing so, I committed to pray personally and individually for each and every person before sealing their letter. After dropping off our daughter at preschool, I would spend nearly all of my time in prayer until 3 pm when I had to pick her up, and then again after the kids went to bed at 7 pm until 9:30.

I am finding the ministry of prayer changing me. Several nights I found myself awoken in prayer. Praying out loud is becoming more natural and powerful. But it is work. And I found myself surprisingly exhausted and needed much replenishing by the end of the week.

I came across this quote from one of my favorite heroes of the faith, Elisabeth Elliot:

"Prayer isn't a sport. It's work. Prayer is work because a Christian simply can't 'make a living' without it. The apostle Paul said we 'wrestle' in prayer. In the wrestling of a Christian in prayer, 'we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' (Ephesians 6:12) Seldom do we consider the nature of our opponent, and that is to his advantage. When we do recognize him for what he is, however, we have an inkling as to why prayer is never easy. It's the weapon that unseen power dreads most, and if he can get us to treat it as casually as we treat a pair of skis or a tennis racquet, he can keep his hold."

Elisabeth Elliot

4 lessons God taught me during that week of prayer

1. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in you!

Does my prayer life reflect this power? Do I pray in weakness? Am I begging God to move on my behalf?
Or, am I suiting up in the Armor, preparing for spiritual battle, and approaching the throne of the King with the confidence of His child?

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Romans 8:11

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Ephesians 3:12

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:15-16

2. Pray earnestly for laborers

Last week I heard a pastor say that Luke 10:2 is the only verse where Jesus tells his disciples what to prayer for. (Note: I haven't verified this statement.) Not prescriptive or an example of how to pray, like the Lord's Prayer. But, instead, his directive is "Ask the Lord" for this: ask, pray earnestly, beseech the Lord of the harvest to send laborers. He is revealing a piece of God's heart for those who haven't heard and also instructing on the difficulties of the task.

Yesterday I was listening to Nancy Guthrie's podcast "Help Me Teach the Bible", and her guest stated, "Heaven mourns for those who have never heard."
So I have been praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send co-laborers to the Harvest. I have been praying that YOU will be co-laborers in the Harvest. And I have been praying for partners in ministry, those that send, pray, and go, because of the dangers and difficulties of the harvest. In Scripture, we never see anyone being sent alone. They are always in groups or pairs.

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

Matthew 9:35-38 ESV

Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.  And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.

Luke 10:1-3 NASB

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Romans 10:12-15 ESV

3. Ask anything in My Name

Another theme that came up was, Jesus saying, "Ask anything in my name or according to my will, and I will do it." Through the Word, I know that God's will is that everyone will worship and glorify Him, that all the nations will praise Him, so that His Will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And how is His Will done in heaven? Revelation tells us that the heavenly beings worship Him, singing "Holy, Holy, Holy," and in verse 7:9 paints the picture that "a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" worshiped him. He has made known His Will and revealed it in His Word.

In prayer, I stand firm and pray according to God's revealed Will. I am challenged to filter my asks through the lens of His Word and what He has revealed to us. So that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

I John 5:14-15

 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

John 14;12-14

4. No worries. God will take care of you.

I am a natural worrier. I am a naturally anxious person. I often approach God from a place of worry or anxiousness, and pray that he solves my problem so that I wouldn't have to worry any more.

The last theme that came to me last week was to pursue God and His righteousness, give sacrificially of my time and resources, and extend the love and grace he has graciously bestowed upon me. And, He will supply all of my needs.

In raising support to do church planting in a first world country, the financial and material needs can seem great, even daunting. They, however, aren't too big for God. We know that it is His Will for the church to go out into all the world. He will provide it. I don't need to worry.

I look at Paul as he wrote the letter to the church at Philippi. He was in prison. He wrote of his immeasurable Joy in Christ. He acknowledged that this church, the Philippian church, was the only church that supplied for his physical needs. After thanking them for their sacrificial giving and service, he encourages them that God will provide for all of their needs according to HIS riches and glory.

I find it so important to look at this verse of encouragement in its full context. It's easy to extract the one verse, but we loose so much of its depth. And through this, I am encouraged and challenged to seek Him first, to give more sacrificially, and to stand on His promise in confidence that He will provide for all of our needs - both here in the U.S. and for the needs of our overseas ministry.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:31-33

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.  And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Philippians 4:14-20

If you have read this far, God bless you. I hope these things God is teaching me has been an encouragement to you. If you have any specific needs you would like me to pray for, please comment, email or PM me. Contact me in any way you are comfortable.

What is God teaching you?

Comment below and share what God has been teaching you. It's a wonderful encouragement to hear how God is working in your heart.

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