“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” (Psalm 2:8)
I love Christmas because its full of the joy of receiving the Greatest of Gifts and the many expressions of it – the music, the dramas, the decorations, the gift-giving (including special gifts to the Lord’s work), the meals, the gatherings, the meditations, the worship. It’s a great time to seek the “Giver”, as we often say. But there is another way that we can celebrate Christmas that the above verse points to – it is to proclaim this good news to others. When it was prophesied that Jesus was to be born, or begotten, as the Son of God made flesh – “You are my Son, today I have fathered you.” (Ps.2:7 NASB) – it goes on to instruct the Incarnate One to ask or pray to the Father that He would bring about the salvation of the nations.
It seems remarkable to me that God has so ordered this world that even His own Son needs to ask or pray for His Father’s purposes to be fulfilled through Him. Even though the reason for the season is that God so loved the world that He wants people from every tongue, tribe, people group and nation to be part of His kingdom, He has ordained partnering with Him through prayer as an essential part of that salvation process.
What God has been putting on my heart this past few years is, that if we are serious about wanting to fulfill the great commission, we need to do what Jesus told His disciples to do. When He saw all the need and all the opportunity, as recorded in Mt.9:35-38, He did not say to them, “Work harder!” or “Work smarter!”, though those things are helpful, instead He said, “Ask/pray/plead to the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” That word “send out” is a very strong word that can be translated “thrust out” or “drive out”.
It is the same Greek word used to express the Spirit’s motivation of Jesus to go out into the desert to confront the temptations of the devil before beginning His public ministry (Mk.1:12). It can be translated, “to lead one forth or away somewhere with a force which he cannot resist” (Thayer’s Gk. Lexicon). After that encounter, Jesus returned “in the power of the Spirit” (Lu.4:14). I believe we need to make that kind of prayer priority one so that we will be thrust out with the same kind of compassion, courage and power that Jesus had to reach the lost, and that the early church had after being filled and re-filled with the Holy Spirit.
Our First House of Prayer (HOP) 101 Cohort Completed!
We are pleased to say that our first HOP cohort of 11 Prayer Point People have completed the 6 sessions of hands-on training in developing the prayer life of their local church. There was Spirit-empowered synergy in the group and together each one creatively and individually learned to take next steps in developing their church into a house of prayer. Here is how one of the cohort members described their experience:
“Looking forward to the prayer course next week. It is such a valuable model for networking and teaching and I’m contemplating the idea of a similarly structured program for training on Intergenerational ministry in the future. It has been wonderful to hear how God is at work in other FM Churches, particularly in the area of prayer.
The “Prayer Recharge” event that one of the cohort members was inspired to help her church offer was a great success. 70 people from a number of our churches attended this inspiring time of focusing on prayer. We are even planning a HOP 201 for those in our first cohort wanting to continue growing in this way.
Now we are planning for our next one this coming year. It will be the first Monday of each month, via Zoom, for an hour, for 6 months, probably beginning in February. If you are interested in being part of it, please let me know (you are welcome to bring others to team up with you on the homework) at [email protected].