Why am I not in the picture? Earlier this year, God surprised me by asking me to stay home rather than go on the mission trip to Milan. (Click here to read the story.) It was strange. I tend to assume–and I think a lot of Christians assume–that obedience usually means going rather than staying, but I couldn’t deny the calm I felt once the decision was made.
I brought those now-empty weeks on the calendar to God. Did you want me to do something else with them, Lord?
The answer came quietly, dropping like a leaf into the calm pool of my heart: Pray.
The ripple widened and another thought came, quick and insistent after the first: Pray WITH other people.
All though scripture, there vivid examples of our great God answering prayer. He heard Abraham and made a 90 year old woman pregnant. He heard Moses and made a dry highway through an ocean. He heard Peter and made a dead woman live again. He has made water pour out of a rock, made lions ignore their dinner, and struck a whole army of enemy soldiers dead because of prayer.
One story in particular keeps running through my head, reminding me that prayer has significant results.
That day the odds were stacked ridiculously high against the Israelites. They were just a bunch of sheep-tending nomads who’d been little kids when their parents left Egypt. Manna and the desert were all they’d ever known. They were about to face the Amalekites–seasoned warriors fighting on their home turf.
Moses told Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
When Moses became tired and lowered his hands, the enemy began to beat Joshua and his men. But when he raised his hands in prayer again, the battle went well. As the day went on, he became exhausted, so two other leaders helped hold up his arms. The rag-taggle Jews beat the Amalekites that day not because they were good fighters, but because Moses persistently called on the Lord’s help.
If we pray during these two weeks, it will accomplish three purposes:
1. The team in Italy will become more effective.
This one feels too obvious to write, but my half-hearted prayer track record shows that I need the reminder. As we pray, God will work. He will literally intervene in our space-time situations and change circumstances when we ask. He can keep the team joyful when they’re jetlagged. He can heal food poisoning (which we pray won’t happen!). He can change hearts and make the Good News suddenly clear to Italians.
2. The Church will become connected to God’s heart for the nations.
Prayer doesn’t just change the things we pray for; it changes us. If we spend our precious free time praying that God’s purposes would happen, those purposes soon grow in importance to us. If we as the Church pray earnestly for lost people, those lost people soon become more and more precious to us and the love of Christ will dwell in us richly. The division between those who go and those who stay will be simply a matter of physical location. We are ALL commissioned by Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations.”
3. God will be glorified.
This is the heartbeat pulsing through everything already mentioned. When God answers a specific prayer, He receives thanks, and his power over every circumstance is put on grand display. And to whom is it displayed? To us, certainly, but we are surrounded in a very real sense with a “great cloud of witnesses.” When the angels in the unseen realms see our faith expressed through prayer, who can imagine what songs they sing to Him for it? When they see the way that His love causes us, His adopted children, to run to Him, the mysteries of his greatness and wisdom become the anthem of Heaven.
If God is stirring your heart, there are two ways to get involved:
Join the Online Prayer Team!
We need prayer cover for each day that the team is in Italy. You can sign up to pray for a specific day of the week, or the whole two-week trip–ask the Lord what He wants you to do.
As a member of the prayer team, you will get an email reminder on the night before your prayer day with prayer requests from Italy.
To join, click HERE.
Gather in College Station for 24 hours of prayer!
There is power, encouragement and JOY when believers meet together to pray! The 24-hour prayer gathering will start next Friday, May 22nd at 5pm and will end the next day at the same time. It is a come-and-go event; guests are welcome to stay as long as they like and leave as needed.
Why this 24 hours, you ask?
This particular 24 hour period coincides with one of the most important days of ministry for the team in Milan. After a week of meeting students through the English Clubs on campus, our team always invites their new friends to join them for a full day excursion at a beautiful location several hours away from the city. The long bus ride and the relaxed setting of the Excursion Day has traditionally been one of the best days for deeper conversations about the Gospel with students.
To get the Evite to the event with more details, click HERE.