This past month or so Pastor has led us through a life-changing series about missions and living a life full of missions. This week we concluded that series with a focus on prayer. Pastor shared about the power of prayer, the importance of prayer, and how we need to battle in prayer because the battles we are fighting are spiritual battles, not physical.
Have you ever had an amazing opportunity jump out right before your eyes and you want to take it right away? Like a big-life decision that can affect more than one area of your life? Maybe a promotion that will require you to relocate your family, or maybe you’re deciding whether you should marry the person you’ve been dating for 5 years, or maybe you’re thinking about going back to school, buying a new car, buying a new house or a vacation house, the list could go on and on.
It’s like when you go to the store and you’re only expecting to buy one thing, but then you see that they have something on sale at a really good price and you end up walking out with two. It’s spontaneous life choices where we don’t always think about the middle or the end, just the amazing beginning and how awesome the experience will be.
This is something that has been troubling me for the past month. I had an amazing opportunity placed before me to study abroad in India next semester. I was so excited about it. I made sure that my college would accept the credits I would be taking overseas, as well as making sure that I would graduate on time; even if it meant dropping one of my secondary majors or minors. As I continued with the process and looked at the financial cost, how it would shape the rest of my undergraduate education, commitments I’ve already made for next semester, and even relationships with friends and family, I wasn’t really sure if it was the will of God to just hop on board a plane and fly across the world on a spontaneous trip to study in India.
Eventually, there came a point where I needed to make a decision. I weighed the pros and cons, talked to the program director to see if it would be possible for me to wait until next spring, and which outcome would be better. After hours and hours of prayer and crying out to God, I finally heard His voice, felt His peace, and knew the direction that He wanted me to go. But it wasn’t until I prayed fervently about it that I experienced that peace. The Lord showed me that if I waited, He would continue to fulfill the promises He has for my life and use me just as much here as He would there.
The same thing happened with the Apostles. Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He made the promise of sending His Holy Spirit to His followers so that He could be with us always. The apostles were ready to go and fulfill the Commission God called them to, but Jesus told them to wait on the promise of the Father. And then He says just before He is taken up that: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1.8).
But why did they have to wait on the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the calling that Christ had given? Because that is where the power for their work would come from.
What they were excited to do wasn’t something they could accomplish on their own without the help of God’s Spirit. They were going to win souls and share the Gospel with the unreached peoples of the earth. Church, this isn’t a matter of how well you prepared your evangelism program. This isn’t a matter of how well you know scripture, although it is important. This isn’t a matter of the flesh and how good your people skills are. It’s something much more than that. Something much greater.
They needed the Holy Spirit because, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6.12). The “winning of souls” doesn’t have anything to do with someone’s physical being here on earth, but rather the battle that is being fought in the realm that we do not see. That is why we NEED the power of the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 4.4 says “In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Church, there are people who are spiritually blinded by the enemy and unable to see the beauty and glory of our Savior, the Risen One, King Jesus!
Remember when you were saved? Or a time when you just fell to your knees and threw your hands up to Jesus and acknowledged the beauty and wonder of Him? These unbelievers are blinded and cannot see that! They have not experienced that. The unbelieving soul is blinded from knowing Christ like you and I know Him! That is why we need to pray! We need to pray that the Glory of God would be revealed to them, that the blinded eyes would be opened, that chains would be broken, and that these unbelievers would be set free! That’s not going to happen if we just hand them a Bible tract and walk away. We need to be interceding for their souls! The spreading of the Gospel is ONLY effective when bathed in prayer.
We have been equipped for this battle. Christ has sent us His Holy Spirit. If we look further into 2 Corinthians 10.3-5, Paul states: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”.
Church, we have been given weapons so that we can effectively participate in this warfare. We have to remember, it’s not a physical battle, like we all too often make it. It’s the power of the Holy Spirit through prayer! Jesus sends us out with HIS authority, clothed in HIS power. Reaching the lost is a battle for the heart, not the mind, and we have to have a power greater than ourselves to win this battle. We have to have the power and person of the Holy Spirit.
Every Wednesday night we have a prayer meeting. Why? Because at PAG we believe when we pray together, it invites the power of the Holy Spirit into our gathering. When you pray together in one accord with other believers, things like Pentecost happen. We believe in miracles and we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit!
Church, there are many lost and hurting souls out there that are searching for something more, a greater love, a greater fulfillment, a purpose beyond themselves. A reason to live. Will you join me in praying for ONE? Who, in your life, do you want to see come to Christ? Write down their name in your Bible, write their name on a post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror… somewhere! So that every time you see their name, you bombard Heaven with prayers for the salvation of their soul. Can you imagine what would happen if we all began to do this? Let’s stop imagining and let’s do it! Will you join me in utilizing the gift of the Holy Spirit to fight for them in spiritual warfare? Church, seek the promise and power of the Holy Spirit with me. We are soldiers in the battlefield of the spiritual realm. People are waiting to know Him, but they’re blinded. We must pray for these blinders to be removed!
Take the next several minutes and listen to Pastor Aaron’s closing sermon on the power and importance of prayer when living LIFE ON MISSION. http://painesvilleag.com/life-on-mission Church, I do not know how to express the urgency and importance of this topic. We cannot sit and remain complacent any longer.
Christ has given us the power of His salvation, equipped us with prayer and His word, let’s join together as the Community of Christ to fulfill the Great Commission and bring Jesus to ALL nations!
Writer, Blogger, College Student