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Lifeline To Missions . . . In The War That Never Ends
By Don Hillis
“...Even to the end there will be war...” (Dan. 9:26).
Our great adversary, the devil, stubbornly resists God’s program by every means at his disposal, assisted by the fallen angels and demons who do his bidding. He yields only what is taken by force – the force of the weapons of our warfare (2 Cor. 10:4) – “...the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God…and all prayer and supplication in the Spirit...” (Eph. 6:17-18). Any ground taken from or against him must be held against his repeated counterattacks – by persistent, believing prayer.
Whether in foreign missions, home missions, rescue missions, evangelistic crusades, spiritual life conferences, church services, Sunday School classes, the midweek prayer meeting, or individual personal witness – the need of the hour is for God’s people to come alive to the reality of our Lord’s victory over him at the Cross. This victory can be – must be – believed, claimed, insisted upon and rejoiced in, through the miraculous instrumentality of prayer.
Our prayer may prove to be the difference between victory and defeat on the spiritual battlefields of the world. “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed” (Ex. 17:11). “...Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7). “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). “Whom resist stedfast in the faith...” (1 Pet. 5:9).
How Shall We Then Pray for Missions?
Pray intelligently. Keep well informed about particular missionaries and their specific needs. Pray for them by name, by face, and by country. Their prayer cards and prayer letters will be of help to you in this regard. Two-way correspondence is specially important – share your prayer requests with your missionary friends. They will count it a privilege to pray for you. “Where two or three are gathered together in My name...” (Matt. 18:20), is not limited by geography. A prayer partnership can be separated by thousands of miles, and yet be meaningful and powerful.
Pray repeatedly. Persistence is an evidence of faith. Ask, seek, knock is the Bible’s expression of this. Intercede for God’s servants during your private devotions, and at your family altar. Teach your children to pray for missionary children. Pray for missions in your Sunday School class, in your church, and whenever you have even a spare moment. If necessary, discipline yourself to be “steadfast, unmoveable” as you intercede for those on the front lines of God’s service.
Pray in the Spirit. True praying is Holy Spirit initiated and directed, but He needs willing instruments through which to intercede. Ask God to make you a Spirit-sensitive channel through which He can pray. Your prayers will then zero in on the real points of conflict in the life and ministry of those for whom you pray. No other aspect of Christian experience demands such total dependence on the Holy Spirit. The missionary’s greatest needs, like yours, are always spiritual. Even more important than health, cultural, language or economic problems are the basic needs of maintaining a strong devotional life, walking worthy of the Lord, fruitfulness in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. Put your finger on your own spiritual needs and then pray for missionaries in that light. Such praying will be right on target!
Pray with thanksgiving. Remember how consistently Paul thanked God for fellow believers. He even thanked the Lord for the weak and stumbling saints at Corinth! Praise God for the privilege of being a worker together with those for whom you pray – you are expecting to have an eternal share in the fruit of their ministry. And you will find thanksgiving to be a spiritual therapeutic in your own life. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord...” (Psa. 92:1); “in everything give thanks...” (1 Thes. 5:18); “...let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15).
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” – Samuel Chadwick
– From a tract.