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.
Serving on the mission field, I had learned that, as a follower of Christ, prayer was the most important factor in life. I had no doubt that the churches in America were praying churches and eagerly looked forward to the meeting. That evening 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.
Key: Understanding Jesus’ Love
If you and I have truly understood the love of Jesus for those who don’t know Him, then we will sometimes feel like Elijah did: left all alone with our concern for the world. We call out and urge believers to invest their lives so that others can hear about Christ, 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 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, we can hear Jesus say loud and clear in His Word: “…as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” (John 20:21) Jesus is asking us to be in His place, to walk in His shoes, to become deeply concerned about all people and their eternal state.
I believe God’s heart is greatly touched by the cry of people on their way to an eternity apart from Him. Think of the Scripture in Ezekiel 22:30: “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
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 there are only a handful of people who share your burden. Remember, Jesus had only 12 disciples, yet they impacted the entire world.
God’s Calling Is a Privilege
We must never lose the freshness of the privilege the Lord has given us to share His heart and be concerned about those who don’t know Him. We are given the opportunity to pray, to give, to go, to send national workers and to make a huge difference for countless 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 tragic events, put yourself in the place of the people involved. You will feel their pain, desperation and their hopelessness at not knowing the name of Jesus. My dear friend, you will be able to weep for them, and God will be pleased to answer your prayer on their behalf.
Engage Yourself in Prayer
Pray for the people and events around you as if it were your own life. When you intercede for those in great need, don’t let your prayer be in neutral. Like a gear stick in a car, let us shift into active faith and watch God answer our prayers in mighty ways! All things are possible for those who believe.
One day, countless people, from every tribe, tongue and nation, 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.
Read the distinctives of Gospel for Asia, the ministry founded by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.