Prayer and the Great Commission: Who will pray?
Acts 13:1-4, Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
In October of last year, I preached a sermon on the great commission (A Missionary God, A Missionary People). One of the points of application centered around being obedient to the mandate to plant churches among all unreached and unengaged people groups in the world, by being a church that actively sends those from among us to these people groups.
If our congregation is to see this become a reality then we must be a praying church. We read Jesus say to His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38, “. . . The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the harvest.” Del Rey Church then must be a church that prays for the Holy Spirit to set apart men and women from among us to go to the unreached and unengaged. We must pray for these same men and women as they consider their calling. We must pray for them as they prepare to be sent. We must pray for them as they go. We must pray for them as they return.
In recent years we have seen the Holy Spirit call the Hardy family to go. Atlas and Demira have been obediently working towards fulfilling this calling. It’s been a long process, but it seems like 2018 will be the year they are sent. As a church, we must not forget that this is a spiritual journey they will embark on. It will require those who remain behind to continuously be lifting them up to God in prayer and interceding for them. The evil one does not want them to succeed and will attempt to stop them. We must stand with them in prayer and encourage them in the face of trials and tribulations as they work to see souls saved among the nations.
While the whole congregation ought to be lifting them up in prayer while they are gone, I want to foster a culture at DRC where we create specific prayer teams for missionaries that we are preparing to send or have sent from our congregation. I’m thinking of people like Jim and Colleen Butcher along with Gary and Estela Williams who lifted up Bill and Susan Jones (MCM and AMG Guatemala) in prayer for many years as they contemplated becoming full-time missionaries and as they were in the field.
For the Hardy's specifically, I would like to have 5 individuals who will commit to be the Hardy's prayer team. This team will commit to praying for the Hardy family regularly, but no less than once per week (you do not need to pray as a group, but you may find it beneficial to do so from time to time). The team will begin praying for them immediately, and continue praying for them as long as they are serving the Lord as missionaries. The team will receive regular updates from the Hardys so they can be praying for their most immediate needs.
If we are to be a church that is successful in reaching the lost, we must be a church that is committed to prayer. Who will heed this call and serve in this prayer ministry for the Hardy's? If you are interested in joining this team email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.