April 02, 2012

Send the Light

Galatians 5:24-25
"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."

In 1838, when James Calvert went out as a Christian missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, "You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among [them]."

To that, Calvert replied, "We died before we came here."    

In a nutshell, that is the story of the missionary. However, it is a daily dying and not a one time proposition. Our church recently concluded a 3 day home missions conference. And it got me to think about how our missionaries are in the outer limits of their comfort zones all in the name of taking the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to lost peoples.

In October the church hosts a missions conference. In both conferences, there are missionaries who give their testimony on how the Lord is working in their lives and through their lives. What incredible stories of faith, courage, and love for the Gospel!

About courage, G.K. Chesterton said, "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live, taking the form of a readiness to die."

It's obvious that Christian missionaries need our prayers. But, what to pray for? Here are some suggestions compliments of the pamphlet, "Praying for Missionaries" (Wonderful Word Publishers), which our church distributes:

1. Pray for their basic needs and missionary needs to be met. When you have an opportunity, talk to missionaries and find out about the country they're serving. Ask about the religion, language, culture and customs. Thus, your prayers will be more specific than just the generic prayer of "Lord, please meet their needs."

Consider these quotes -

"We talk of the Second Coming; half the world has never even heard about the First."
— Oswald J. Smith

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light"
— John Keith Falconer

2. Pray for Christian character during trials, troubles and temptations as well as during times of repose, peace and boredom. Pray for strength during physical trials and spiritual ones, too. Usually one type of trial leads to the other kind. After all, they are ambassadors of Christ.

Regarding strength, Hudson Taylor questioned, "How often do we attempt work for God to the limit of our incompetency rather than to the limit of God's omnipotency?"

Thus, prayer for strength and wisdom is very critical for the missionaries. I think about Zechariah 4:6, which states, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

3. Pray for victory over stagnation. The missionary may have little or no time for personal reading and studying.

4. Pray for freshness in prayer and Bible teaching.

5. Pray for  the recently converted soul, that he or she doesn't backslide.

6. Pray for deliverance from the temptation of pride. Because missionaries are looked up to, it may be easy for some to fall into conceit. So pray for humility.

7. Pray for wisdom in relations with other missionaries - victory over irritations, resentments, criticisms.

8. Pray for a saving sense of humor and to guard against becoming morbid or unbalanced, especially those in the midst of filth and terrible sin.

9. Pray for the nationals, many of whom the missionaries are training into assuming leadership roles. They need wisdom and grace.

10. Pray for strength to overcome the temptations of loneliness.

And while you're at it, please be mindful and prayerful about missionaries needing encouragement from us. So, when they visit your church, please let them know how much you appreciate them. If you can't financially support them, at least keep them in your daily prayers.

With respect to missions, there are only three kinds of Christians: burdened goers, burdened senders, and the disobedient. Which one are you?

Final quote:

"If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn't it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more is it inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death?"
— Dave Davidson

Let us not grow weary in the work of love,
“Send the light! Send the light!”
Let us gather jewels for a crown above,
Send the light! Send the light!

Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine from shore to shore!
Send the light, the blessed Gospel light;
Let it shine forevermore!

To find out why missionaries are burdened about telling others of Jesus Christ, Click Here!

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