I recently had the opportunity to hear an individual who is both a pastor and seminary professor give a lecture on prayer. What made this experience stand out was that the professor shared a bit about the trauma that he experienced in his childhood, continuing into early adulthood, and how it had shaped his perspective on prayer. As he spoke, I couldn’t help but to begin placing what he was saying about prayer into the context of prayer as it is pursued at GoTEN. Not only because it hit close to home with the experiences of trauma that many of our refugee friends share, but also because it aligned so closely with the value of prayer in our daily rhythms. Listening to the professor teach helped me to reaffirm why prayer is central to our ministry and why we strive to incorporate it into everything that we do. These are just a few of my reflections on the lecture that I hope you will find helpful as you pursue a prayerful life.
First, prayer opens up an avenue through which the Gospel is able to penetrate our hearts as well as the hearts of those around us. When we pray, individually and with one another, we are nourishing our own belief in the Gospel and are reminded of its truth. Prayer also invites the Holy Spirit to empower us for His mission. Not only do we intercede for our friends who do not know Jesus, but we also seek to be equipped by God to proclaim the Gospel to them with our words and deeds. This means that our hearts and minds will be shaped by what we pray for, so pray big prayers! Through prayer we allow God to expand our vision of the Gospel and His Kingdom until it can eclipse the effects of sin that we see in the world.
Therefore, we must prioritize prayer. As I said, prayer is central to the ministry of GoTEN but it must become central in our lives as well. This is a theme that we see come up time and time again in the lives of Jesus and His apostles. They consistently grounded themselves and all that they did in prayer, often stepping away in the midst of intense times of ministry to seek out God in silence and solitude. Just as Jesus prayed and fasted before encountering Satan in the wilderness, prayer is our greatest protection against the work of the enemy. It was no accident that Paul concluded his teaching about the armor of God in Ephesians 6 with a call for continuous prayer.
Finally, it is through prayer that the Kingdom of God advances. This may sound a little over the top, but please hear me out. When Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, He gave them the Lord’s Prayer. As followers of Jesus recite this prayer they affirm that God is their Heavenly Father, that their desire is that His name would be praised by all people, and that His Kingdom would reign on Earth just as it does in heaven.
I challenge you to start praying the Lord’s Prayer at least once a day, that might seem like a big commitment but it really won’t take very long. While you are praying, think of the people that you will encounter that day who do not know Jesus as Lord. Ask God to work through you to show them that Jesus is King. Then watch as God uses your prayer to expand His Kingdom for His glory.