We pray because our vision exceeds our ability. Prayer is the soul's deepest cry of rebellion against the way things are, seeing the lost of this world and crying out, "This does not glorify God, and so, by God's grace, it must change!" Prayer comes from God and ascends back to God on behalf of those who do not know God. Extraordinary prayer lays a firm foundation for a movement of God."
I was reading in Luke 11 today, through the passage where Jesus teaches us His prayer and then goes on to tell us to, "ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, recieves, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."
It reminded me of the Garrison quote above and of the many resources available to help the body of Christ focus "extraordinary prayer" on the nations. And so today I want to share Seven Prayer Resources To Fuel Your Missions "Prayer" Fire.
[READ ALL OF THE 7 SERIES BLOG POSTS]
Prayercast Video for North Korea
Dyann was baptized just 5 years ago. She knew she was committed, but wasn’t sure what to do next. She decided to read through the Bible. On doing so she naturally evaluated her life against what she was learning about God and His people.
Coincidentally, her church was gearing up for an extended mission conference where there were many missionary guests. She was deeply moved by the whole-life surrender of the individuals and families she was meeting. She decided to take the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course and had her entire world opened up before her.
What she learned is that her role was to reach her neighbors, whoever they may be, with the good news of the Gospel.
“It really is my job to get to share this.”
Perhaps the most precious thing about her testimony is her heart that is obviously broken for the lost who do not know the love of God.
Dyann has already received training to share her faith and has begun training others to do the same even as she shares her own faith regularly. She has also served cross-culturally in Argentina, Lebanon and next up, Mexico.
Do you want to see this kind of transformation in your life?
We'd love to help you. Join us for our next Everywhere to Everywhere training event.
Learn about Perspectives
The Rock Community Church
Every fourth Saturday of the month, a group of Jesus’ disciples gather in Sioux Falls South Dakota for what we call Sent Saturdays. We spend some time training through Luke 10, do a little role play, pray together and then head out into the city to knock on doors, offering to pray for people. After about an hour in the harvest, we return for a time of debrief.
We are not wanting to do door to door evangelism with Sent Saturdays.
We are looking for persons of peace.
At the heart of Jesus’ ministry was the conviction that, since the Father is Lord of the harvest, he will provide the workers. God alone initiates the mission. So in each location the disciples’ assignment was to find the people that God had prepared. In this way Jesus laid the foundation for a missionary movement that would reach the world.”
A person of peace is a God prepared person. Troy Cooper, in the video below, defines a person of peace as someone who:
The woman at the well (John 4), the demoniac (Mark 5), Zacchaeus (Luke 19), Cornelius (Acts 10), Lydia at the river’s bank and the Philippian jailer (Acts 16 ), Jason in Thessalonica (Acts 17) and Crispus the synagogue leader (Acts 18) are all examples of people in the Bible - persons of peace - who received the messenger, the message and the mission.
God had prepared them to encounter the gospel witness and when they did, they became the conduits of the good news in their families and communities. They, not the apostles who shared with them, become the main vehicle for the spread of the gospel in their regions.
The person of peace is not the only strategy that God uses to expand his kingdom in families, cities, nations and people groups but it was one strategy that we see Jesus training his disciples to use.
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
Jesus sent the “seventy two others” out on mission. These aren’t even his closest disciples but “others” who’ve been hanging around, learning, growing, observing. And Jesus sends them out on mission. They are to go into the villages of the region, sent as sheep among wolves. They’re not to take anything with them but rather to depend on the hospitality of strangers. They are to find the peaceful person who will accept them and feed them and listen to them. They are to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom. If they don’t find the peaceful person, they are instructed to brush the dust off their feet and leave.
Who does ministry this way? . . . Jesus does.
Think of it this way. You may be the person of peace in your neighborhood, the person through whom God will work to introduce your friends and neighbors to the life of faith in Christ. You know these people. You have regular chances for interaction. You understand their culture, language and history.
But you probably won’t be the one to reach the apartment complex on the other side of town. The harvesters are in the harvest. The person of peace living in that apartment complex, who knows the culture, language and history of those living there is better positioned to naturally share the good news of Jesus with everyone in the apartment complex.
Jesus commands his disciples to pray for harvesters as they are going into the harvest. Why? Because the harvesters are in the harvest. And so when we go into neighborhoods and apartment complexes and new communities, we are not looking to evangelize the whole area. We are looking for the person of peace and, when we find them, we don’t leave. We invest there. We cast vision. We train them to be disciples of Jesus so that they can disciple their friends and neighbors.
This is the basic idea behind the idea of the person or house of peace. Again, it’s not the only way that God works to expand his kingdom but it is an important principle that we see again and again in scripture.
I want to encourage you to explore this principle more. First, study Matthew 10:5-14 and Luke 10:1-11. Read the book of Acts as well. Look for how and where the person of peace principle shows up. Take notes and ask what it would look like to apply the principle in your context.
Next, take some time to look through the resources in the links below. I’ve added approximate times to read or watch each. In it all, be like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12) and examine the scriptures to see if what we’re talking about here is true.
Learn it - Apply it - Share it - Today.
RESOURCES FOR FURTHER LEARNING
The Person of Peace by Jerry Trousdale and Glenn Sunshine
(article -5 minutes)
Kingdom Kernels by Steve Smith and Nathan Shank
(article - 15 minutes)
Testimony of a person of peace at Movements
(article - 3 minutes)
Searching for a House of Peace in the U.K. at Movements Podcast
(podcast - 30 minutes)
House of Peace by Jeff Sundell
(youtube training - 12 minutes)
Four Fields of Kingdom Growth by Nathan and Kari Shank
(training manual - 2-3 weeks)
Here is a question for you: Are you training or teaching your disciples?
You may be wondering, is there a difference?
There is a difference and despite the differences, they are both used powerfully by God to raise up disciples. Both are valuable and important, but we too often try to teach things that we should be training.
Teaching is the passing on and receiving of information to gain knowledge.
Training is the passing on and mastering of skills.
Again, both are important.
But consider the picture above. A man is helping a younger person become a bicycle mechanic.
There are many ways to become a bicycle mechanic. My wife once bought be a book called "Bicycle Maintenance" and it gave instructions on how to fix all sorts of problems that happen with a bicycle. There were even lots of pictures.
Reading a book is one way to learn about fixing my bicycle.
But I never really became a bicycle mechanic - I had a lot of knowledge, but I didn't master the skills. That is because fixing a bicycle is more about learning skills than it is about gaining a bunch of knowledge.
To become a competent bicycle mechanic, what I need to do is spend time with a bicycle mechanic - like the boy in the picture above.
I need to change hundreds of bicycle inner tubes. I need to adjust hundreds of bicycle break problems. I need to take a apart and put back together hundreds of bicycles.
Because the only way to get competent at fixing bikes is to fix lots of bikes.
Some aspects of being a bicycle mechanic are really just about knowledge.
But most of the work of a bicycle mechanic is a skill. And there is really only one way to get competent at a skill.
Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.
And it is that way in almost every area of life.
Anything that you do well, you do it well because you have done it a lot. You have mastered a skill.
So now let's step back and look at how we make disciples. Much of what we know to do in order to obey Jesus are actually skills that we have learned. We don't just know about prayer, we have become better at prayer as we have prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed.
We don't just know about reading our Bibles. We are a lot better at reading God's word and interacting with it and learning from it now than when we first began.
And with both, there was probably someone who modeled for you what prayer is and how to read your Bible and walked with you until you figured it out.
What are the things that disciples of Jesus do?
I would encourage you to make a list of five to ten things that you wish every member of your church was doing regularly as a disciple of Jesus and then ask yourself, "Have I trained them to do that?"
I'll give you one example that I am working to train as many disciples as I can in. We all know that as disciples of Jesus we are commanded to tell others about the gospel.
One way to do that is to share our personal testimony. Paul did this frequently in the book of Acts. In the video below you will see what we use at Everywhere to Everywhere events to train people how to share their testimony. We write out our testimonies and then we practice and practice and practice and practice until we have it memorized.
We won't be confident to share what we are not competent to share.
Learn it. Apply it. Share it. Today.
Set aside ten minutes - Hit play - Make it Full Screen - Meditate on Psalm 67
I'd have to say that one of the biggest influences on my heart for the nations and the fullfilment of the great commission has been books. As I first read biographies of missionaries and now more and more often, educational and inspirational non-fiction around missions, books have shaped the way I think about the world, the values I hold and the place in my heart that missions holds.
And so I'd love to encourage you to consider reading these books to fuel your missions fire. These are not necessarily in any order and aren't in any way thought to be the best seven books. And it certainly isn't an exhaustive list.
As always, if you have a book that has been instrumental in growing your heart for the nations and the completion of the great commission, mention it in the comments.
[READ ALL OF THE 7 SERIES BLOG POSTS]
Author: Russell T. Hitt
Nate Saint was one of the five missionaries killed in Ecuador by the Waodani Indians in 1956. Their story caught the attention of the church and God used their martyrdom to ignite a new passion for frontier missions - it certainly did for me. While Through Gates of Splendor is the most famous of the books on this incident, Jungle Pilot is an inspiring look into the life of Nate Saint and the motivations and love that drove him.
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret
Author: Dr. Howard Taylor
A missionary biography classic, this book about Hudson Taylor's life looks into a time when missionaries were first pressing into the inlands of places like China, Africa and India. Filled with stories of risk taking obedience to Jesus and great faith, this missionary biography is one everyone should read.
Eternity in Their Hearts
Author: Don Richardson
Don Richardson was a missionary in Indonesia in the 1960s and while there discovered a principle: God has been preparing the peoples of the world to know him. Through the lense of twenty five uniques stories from all across the globe, Eternity in Their Hearts proves the truth in the words of Ecclesiastes: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Let the Nations Be Glad
Author: John Piper
With deep Biblical insight and reflection, Piper forcefully makes the case that, "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate." This is a great resource for everyone interested in learning more about why we do missions and why it should be in the mind of every follower of Jesus.
In the Gap
Author: David Bryant
In the Gap lays a foundation of understanding for what it means to be a world christian, those who are (in Corrie Ten Boom's phrase) tramps for the Lord who have left their hidding places to roam the Gap with the Savior. They are heaven's expatriots, camping where the Kingdom is best served.
Out of the Comfort Zone
Author: George Verwer
George Verwer is the founder of Operation Mobilization where he now serves as the "Special Projects Dude". This small book has been used to mobilize many to the mission fields of the world. You can even get this book and others free when you email George.
Western Christians in Global Misssion
Author: Paul Borthwick
As the state of Christianity increasingly shifts to the global south, our missionary strategies and thinking will need to adapt to new realitites. Borthwick presents a thoughtful book to help the church navigate these new realities with honest self reflection and missional determination.
This list of seven books is in no way exhaustive and so I want to encourage you to share the book that has helped you catch the missions vision in the comments below.
*all links to books are affiliate links
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