I’ve been reflecting on Paul’s love for his Jewish brothers who were unbelievers in Jesus. Paul’s heart was full of sorrow and anguish for them (Rom. 9:1-3). His prayers and pursuit of their salvation showed how much anguish was in his heart. James Hudson Taylor stated, "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." Prayer and action are twins. I’m asking God to break my heart like this! God, give me Jesus’s love for the lost. Please, pray with me for a heart that hurts the way Paul’s heart hurt. I believe God has given us a means for cultivating a hurting heart for the lost. I believe the key is prayer! Paul asserted, “Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Romans. 10:1). Let our desire and prayer for the “not yet” believers in our lives be the same!
I want us to have God’s heart. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Let us embrace God’s words as fuel for the way we pray and live – not wishing that any should perish, but that all should have a change of heart. “Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still.” (E.M. Bounds)
Together, we all are failing forward in cultivating broken hearts for the lost.
Prayer: the means by which we join God in the exercise of his sovereignty over the world. Prayer is how we cooperate with him in causing the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. Prayer is essential for the nurturing of our relationship with the Father and our effectiveness! Let us pray individually and corporately as we advance toward missional, gospel motivated, scripture saturated, Spirit empowered living. Prayer is rebellion against the way that things have went haywire within our city and in the world. Let us pray for justice, peace, multiplication of disciples and churches, for souls, for houses of peace, gospel saturation, courage, the needs of our family and the needs of our lost friends, etc. It is easier for us Westerners to default to pragmatism (practical ideas) instead of delving, through prayer, into the infinite resources of the God who can do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think.
Jesus says, when you pray to God, call him Father. Talk to him like you trust him! Jesus is calling us to indulge in the intimacy that he shares and shared with the Father before anything was made (John 17:24). You are sons and daughters. God is our Father and we’re precious in his sight. We’re his children and apprentices. We’re requesting of him to cause his name to be honored in the world that he spoke into existence (Heb. 11:1-3). Our pray is that our Father would be respected, admired, adored, worshipped, known and acknowledged for who he is. In ancient times, to call on the name of someone meant to place yourself under the authority of that person, and to act in their name was to exercise that person’s authority and power. Therefore, we pray in the name of Jesus!
Brothers and sisters, I thank God for you all and your relentless service for him. May his name and renown be the desire of our souls (Isa. 26:8 NIV).