“Are there any prayer requests?” That is a question commonly asked in a variety of settings, from Sunday School openings and deacons’ meetings to gatherings in homes, etc. On Wednesday evenings, most of our churches will at least tip their hats to a time of prayer, and this question is always posed.
What is the first and most frequent kind of request stated? Hands down, it is an appeal to pray for those who are sick-which is an altogether right kind of prayer request. Jesus is the Great Physician, and the church should be a house of prayer for the sick.
What do you think is the prayer request that is usually glaringly absent? I would suggest it is the call to prayer for specific persons who are lost and without Christ. Why? I can only guess. My best suggestion is that we have lost our sensitivity to the lost, and it is not at the top of our minds. We are not opposed to people being saved. In fact, we rejoice when they come to faith. However, we have little personal involvement in their coming to Christ.
It is not my intent to be harsh with this appraisal, but to be honest.
If our churches are to refocus our mission to the pattern of the mission of Jesus, our prayer times must change dramatically. We will not become a people who impact lostness until our prayer life changes. It is in the context of passionate prayer that God transforms our focus, stokes the fires of our passion and empowers us to seek and save that which is lost.
I would suggest that our personal prayer list should have a Kingdom orientation, rather than being a laundry list of wants and desires. This Kingdom focus would suggest that top-of-the-mind prayer items would be those that impact lostness. Central to missional Christian prayer time is focused time crying out to the Father for people groups without Christ. Our personal and corporate prayer times will reflect a passion to see people we know come to faith in Christ.
Can you imagine what would happen if your church would focus its prayer times on impacting lostness for the next year? What if Sunday School departments and classes spent time passionately praying by name for a growing list of lost people? What if Wednesday night prayer meeting was intentionally directed to call down strongholds that have bound lost people groups or blinded individuals from the truth? I believe it would change the hearts of the believers and the church as whole to become like Christ. God would answer, and many people would be saved.
The choice is ours. We can be good churches that do good things or we can be missional churches that reflect in time, resources and actions the mission of Jesus. We can “do church” or we can impact lostness. The beginning point is prayer that brings the enemy to his knees and frees those caught in his web so that they might believe.
Dry aisles are a direct result of dry eyes regarding lostness.
It’s time to change. Pray for the sick-but spend the most time praying for those who are sin sick. Leaders, what will you do during prayer time next Wednesday and Sunday?