Pastor Adebare Egunjobi (China Missions Alliance)
Ezekiel 22 :30; 13: 2-5; Psalm 106:23
Prayer is the greatest and the most effective strategy in liberation of souls and nations from the captivity of the enemy. Through intercession, we acknowledge our limitations as mortals and transfer the battle to Him who is strong and mighty. Through intercession, we break the barrier of distance and space and touch places beyond our immediate reach. The greatest evangelist is a praying evangelist. More results are recorded in missions when regular and functional prayer altars are kept where intercessors travail for souls. No revival ever breaks out until a prayer movement is launched. Hearts and lands open up to consistent prayers of the intercessors
A. REASONS FOR PRAYERS
B. HINDRANCES TO PRAYER
C. CONTENTS OF PRAYERS
A. REASONS FOR PRAYERS
For the Missionaries
1. It increases fellowship and communion with God: Jesus never sent anyone to preach the gospel who has not been with him in close knit relationship, friendship and discipleship before. Prayer offers that avenue of experiencing genuine and deep communion with God as a prelude to successful mission enterprise.
2. It reinforces dependence on God: It is better to pray without getting results than to get results without prayers. The greatest reason for praying is not the answer that we get on the altar of prayer, it is the expression of our dependence on Him that without Him we are inadequate which pleases God the most
3. It increases the presence of God in life and ministry: Man can never correctly enumerate or adequately exhaust all his prayer requests on earth. The demands of Missions are of gargantuan proportion that missionary is often faced with long list of requests before God. One prayer request that however sums it all is the presence of God, which is what prayers secure and guarantee as key to all manners of blessings and resources for life and ministry.
4. It boosts the unction, anointing and oil: Mission work becomes dry, dull and dreary without the anointing for this special task. It is prayer that releases the oil of anointing which lubricates the wheel of Missions, otherwise mission work will become dry, dull and dreary. One of the most dangerous things one can do is to embark on the enterprise of Missions (where devil’s attack is the fiercest), without prayers.
5. It releases fresh grace for Christ-likeness and fruitfulness: When prayer becomes lacking in the life of a missionary, walk with God can be substituted with work for God, correct heart can be substituted with applauded acts while fruit of the spirit can be easily replaced by gift of the spirit. Strategic planning, administration and management can all be successfully executed without need for prayers, nobody can live a real Christ-like life without spending hours with Christ on altars of prayers.
6. It enhances sense of direction and judgement: The Holy Spirit is the Director of Missions. The early church sent out their first set of missionaries under the management and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Doing missions without constant directions from the throne of grace will reduce missions to mere human effort with no lasting divine encounters.
7. It causes open doors and heavens: There are heights a missionary will never reach, a testimony he will never share and a glory he will never experience until he is fully baptised with and immersed in the spirit of prayer and supplication. Doors and heavens are opened, divinely generated results follow, strength is renewed, dews and showers are released and mission moves to next level of breakthrough and results as missionaries engage the Lord of the harvest through daily, constant, consistent and regular fervent prayers.
For the Work
1. It prepares the hearts of men for the gospel.
2. It prepares the land for the work.
3. It leads to strong conviction of the Holy Spirit.
4. It raises labourers for the work.
5. It mobilises finances for the work.
6. It enhances divine connection for the kingdom business.
7. It brings results.
B. HINDRANCES TO PRAYER
Administrative work, leadership and management functions, funds and resources mobilisation, paper work and office duties, meetings and bureaucracies, etc All these are legitimate activities that can constitute subtle distractions to missionaries from active prayer life. While these activities are not bad in themselves, when they become distractions and alternatives to prayers, mission is reduced to mere NGO, charity work or humanitarian activity.
A lot happens to weaken the hands and hearts of missionaries on the field: loneliness, financial crises, pressure for results, persecution, unresolved family issues, domestic and ministry needs, etc. All these are meant to push missionaries closer to God in prayers. If and when the enemy succeeds in converting them to hindrances to prayers, the missionary loses and the work suffers.
Prayer is a spiritual assignment. All other activities can be done in the physical, not prayer. Spiritual disconnection from God is the greatest hindrance to prayer. Even if a disconnected persons manages or forces himself to pray, such prayers will be cold, casual, complacement, lethargic and mechanical with no spiritual energy to move God to act in the affairs of men. Missionaries should run away from sin and triggers of sin as much as possible.
4. Demonic attack
Devil fears prayers of the saints. He is not bothered when we buy the most expensive cars and houses but he loses his cool when we invest in kingdom prayers. That is why he launched the fiercest attacks against prayer life of missionaries, especially prayers for souls and kingdom expansion. Arrows of prayerlessness are fired, poison of spiritual lethargy is injected while atmosphere of lightness is created all in a bid to make the knees feeble and hand weakened on the altars of prayer. So whenever a missionary becomes too busy to pray, he should know he is under the attack of the devil!
Distance from spiritual brethren, prayer partners, men and women of like minds, spiritual resources, etc could also constitute a great hindrance to prayer. What a missionary surrounds himself with ultimately affects his prayer life.
Principle of delegation is one of the most effective weapons of success in management. This must however not be transferred wholesale into missions. A missionary may delegate responsibilities, not prayers. Peter and John were unequivocal: but we will give ourselves to prayer and ministry of the word. Delegating prayer especially among mission leaders is a quick way to spiritual death
Living a genuine Christlike life and bringing the lost to the Saviour are the main substance of Missions. Every other thing else is a decoration. When a missionary becomes more concerned about finances, support, acceptance, houses, cars, recognition, etc his emphasis will shift from the substance to mere decorations and his prayer life will be greatly damaged in the reckoning of heavens.
So, to be prayerful is not enough for a missionary, the contents of the prayers are equally important. Are they on the main substance or just mere decorations. This leads us to the last part of this message
C. CONTENTS OF PRAYERS
Exodus 32: 9-14; Esther 4:14-17; Acts 2:1-4, 41-47
To have a great breakthrough in Missions is beyond planning and strategy alone. A missionary should be ready to pray and intercede as:
o A Traffic Warden: halting traffic to help, releasing souls into the kingdom
o An Usher: locating the lost in their correct positions with Christ
o A Lawyer: advocating for the lost
o A farmer: sowing seeds of righteousness, nurturing lives to fruitfulness
o A judge: delivering the sentence of judgement upon the agents of darkness
o A Doctor: healing hearts, lives and lands
o A Midwife: bringing sons into the kingdom through soul travail
o Fire fighters: beating back demonic fires for lives and lands
o Light men: flooding the lands with the light of the gospel
The greatest evangelists are praying evangelists, the greatest missionaries are praying missionaries. If we will discipline ourselves and disengage ourselves from more physical activities in order to be able to concentrate more and invest more in prayers and intercession for the souls around us, God will surely launch us into unparalleled harvest of souls beyond our planning and preparations in Jesus name.