When I first came to the United States, I visited a large, well-known church where the pastor announced an evening prayer meeting. I came early that night, genuinely concerned that I might not find a place in the sanctuary. I waited and waited for the thousands of believers I had seen in the morning to come and intercede for the pastor, the church and the mission field; but in the end only seven showed up. It was an experience I will never forget, because on the mission field in India I had learned that, as a follower of Christ, prayer was the most important factor in life.
When you and I truly understand Jesus’ love for the lost world, then we will sometimes feel like Elijah did: left all alone with our concern for the unreached. We call out and urge believers to invest their lives so that people groups living in the 10/40 Window can hear the Gospel, but our voices are so often drowned out by all the other activities going on in the Christian realm.
Most of these activities are designed to make life on earth more enjoyable and comfortable. That’s what believers have come to expect, and that’s the reason very few will show up for events like prayer meetings. Sacrifice, suffering and intercession for the lost world are largely unpopular in many of our churches because they involve hard work and giving up comfort, time and money.
When we look at the world situation, however, we can hear Jesus say loud and clear in His Word: “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). Jesus is asking us to be in His place, to walk in His shoes and to become deeply concerned about the lost in our generation in countries like Afghanistan, India and Mongolia.
There are people—thank God—whom He is calling to stand in the gap and who are willing to pay the price. If you have answered His call, don’t get discouraged, feeling that the job is so huge and that only a handful of people share your burden. Remember, Jesus had only 12 disciples, yet they impacted their entire generation.
We must never lose the freshness of the privilege the Lord has given us—out of millions of people—to share His heart and be concerned about the lost world. We are given the opportunity to pray, to give, to go, to send missionaries and to make a huge difference for millions of people for all eternity. As we intercede for the unreached, we must allow God’s love and compassion to fill our hearts. Our prayers will be so much more fervent and real if we identify with the people for whom we pray. That’s what Daniel, Jeremiah and Nehemiah did, and God answered them in a powerful way.
As you read news reports about events like the cyclone that hit the coast of Andhra Pradesh, put yourself in the place of that mother whose child was swept away by the tidal wave or that man who found his wife and children dead under the rubble of their collapsed home. You will feel their pain, desperation and hopelessness at not knowing the name of Jesus.
Pray for the people and events you read about in the newspaper or hear about over the radio and TV as if it were your own life. When you intercede for the unreached, don’t let your prayers be in neutral. Like a gearshift in a car, let us shift into active faith and watch God give us whole nations! All things are possible for those who believe.
One day, thousands from the heathen lands will stand before the throne of God worshiping the Lamb. We will meet them and rejoice with them. That moment will be worth all our prayers and sacrifice on their behalf.
Jot down prayer points from the news you hear, and start praying for the world today.
Reflecting His Image © 1998, 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.