Solid lasting missionary work is done on our knees. (James O. Fraser)
(Get ready for a blog post that I can take very little credit for, because it’s just filled with inspirational quotes from those wiser than I!!)
Today I emailed my prayer partners my itinerary for the summer, and it got me feeling really, really thankful for those who stand with me in prayer!
Because I genuinely and totally believe that prayer works.
And I think intercession, and praying for others is a key, central part of the body of Christ.
And I know that prayer is the thing that moves the mountains, opens hearts, and equips all of the ‘ministry’ that we can sometimes get so caught up in building. Because this is all really about Him.
Like Oswald Chambers said, ‘Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work’. Great spiritual battles are won on our knees. Talking to others about God, overflows from first talking to God about them. Jesus talked about prayer all the time. Jesus prayed all the time.
All the time.
Like in John 14 when He said, ‘Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it’. Like in Luke 6 when we are told that He again went to pray and spend time with His Father. And like the countless other verses from the Gospels that show us the priority this takes in the heart of God.
And those people who pray for me are totally diverse. Some are my kind-of-age, friends who I socialise with regularly, who I am accountable to, and who I know inside-out. Some are slightly older, wiser, mentors, who speak into my life and give godly wisdom and time and guidance along my walk. Some are people I don’t know so well, but they have felt God prompt their hearts to stand with me in prayer and I greatly appreciate it. Some have known me for decades, some just these last years, others only months. But all are precious and valuable to me. And I really believe, all are precious and valuable to God.
Because He loves prayer.
He loves it when we pray.
And I often come before Him and ask that He would give me a great capacity and desire for prayer. Because I want to love prayer like Jesus loves prayer.
I love missionary biographies and I love reading the stories of what God has done in people and places. I’m a book worm who could read these stories time and time and time again. But all are clear: prayer is the key.
Hudson Taylor (obviously there was going to be a Hudson Taylor quote in today ;-)) said that, ‘I have seen many men work without praying, though I have never seen any good come out of it; but I have never seen a man pray without working.’ Because it is prayer that brings us into the presence of God, and prayer that equips us and refreshes us spiritually, and prayer which is the weapon with which we fight against the darkness and principalities of a place.
Those of you who’ve ever met me know that one of my favourite books is ‘Mountain Rain’ by Eileen Crossman, that tells the incredible story of James O. Fraser, a missionary to the Lisu people. (If you haven’t read this book, then buy it and read it… now!!) But he just lived and breathed a knowledge of the reality of the importance of prayer in everything he did. When there seemed to be no harvest. When there was revival. When depression overtook him. When there was extreme joy. In every season.
And he said this, and with this I will finish:
I am feeling more and more that it is, after all, just the prayers of God’s people that call down blessing upon the work, whether they are directly engaged in it or not. Paul may plant and Apollos water, but it is God who gives the increase; and this increase can be brought down from heaven by believing prayer, whether offered in China or in England. . . . If this is so, then Christians at home can do as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field. . . . What I covet more than anything else is earnest, believing prayer.
Thank you Jesus, for my prayer partners. And may I be faithful in that place of earnest, life-giving prayer. Amen.