“Pray Christ:” Paul’s Missionary Prayer
September 12, 2021
Early this year, we decided to replace most of the fencing in our backyard. It was rotting in several places and falling down in others. So we counted the panels and pickets and headed to the lumber yard to buy replacements. We were told that they only had one pallet of pickets and didn’t know when they would get more. So we bought the pallet. Later we went back and found they had a few more, so we bought about another half pallet. Halfway through the project Raye Jeanne was concerned that we didn’t have enough pickets. Since I always figure a project is 2x the time and 2x the money, I figured she was right. The store had more pickets by then so we loaded up again.
One Saturday morning with the project just about complete, we walked through the yard, counted our pickets, figured on a small percentage of “overage” to keep for repairs down the road, and loaded up 183 extra pickets and took them back to the store. That’s how we plan and do projects. How about you?
As I think about missions and think about planning, I think about all the things we need to make missions work well. We need a policy. We need people. We need a clear gospel. We need training. We need $$$. Anything else? Yes. We need prayer. Without prayer, missions will never succeed.
For three Sundays, we are thinking with Paul about missions. As Paul prepares to go to Spain — and as he prepares to come to Rome and ask for support to help him get to Spain — in vv. 17-21 he reveals the gospel he preaches; in vv. 22-29 he reveals his vision for missions; finally, in vv. 30-33 he reveals the power for his missions ventures: prayer. We might summarize his teaching this way:
Successful missions ventures are empowered by faithful praying.
By that statement, I (and Paul) don’t mean that the praying itself changes anything; it is not the force of my prayers that changes anything. But I mean that if missions will succeed, then we will prayerfully depend on God to accomplish His purposes in missions — and we demonstrate that trust by praying dependently.
In these verses Paul models five aspects of faithful praying for missions:
- The Need for Missions Praying (v. 30a)
- The Nature of Missions Praying (v. 30b)
- The Content of Missions Praying (v. 31)
- The Purpose of Missions Praying (v. 32)
- The Comfort of Missions Praying (v. 33)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 15:30-33.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.