God has a mission: He “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:4). God has called all believers to join in His mission by becoming Christ’s ambassadors to the world so He can “make his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2).
As we live this out, it it important to remember that it is God’s mission, not ours. No amount of convincing or arguing is going to bring someone from darkness to light, from lost to saved; only God can work that kind of miracle (2 Corinthians 4). That’s why we must pray!
It’s a Spiritual Battle
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). As we serve God on mission, Satan is always working against us, trying to keep God’s purposes from being accomplished in the world. This is a big reason why we must pray.
It is Satan who “has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Ephesians 6 uses the imagery of warfare to describe the spiritual battle we engage in when we pray. Although our Enemy has power here on Earth, God’s power is much greater, and we can access that power through prayer.
We Need God’s Help
When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the Gospel, he told them to “ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore to send out workers into his harvest field” (Luke 10:2). He later taught them, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you” (John 15:7). Jesus showed that we must be dependent on God as we go out and do His work.
As we pray for ourselves and those God has called us to reach, we should get others to pray as well. The Apostle Paul constantly asked believers to pray for him (Colossians 4:2-4, Ephesians 6:19-20, 1 Thessalonians 5:25). If Paul, arguably one of the most fruitful missionaries in all of history, had to solicit prayers for God’s help in sharing the Gospel, surely we should too!
We Must Pray Together
Another important precedent set in scripture is corporate prayer. Jesus said, “if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:19-20).
In the book of Acts, believers gathered together all the time to pray (Acts 1:14, 2:1, 2:42, 4:24-31), and God moved powerfully in them and through them every time. We need to unite together with other believers to pray for God to move in the world and work in the hearts of the lost around us.
Clearly, prayer is an essential part of living out God’s mission. It takes effort and discipline on our part, but it releases the power of God so that His will can be done here on Earth. How can you invest yourself in prayer today?