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25 & 26 March 2023 (Pastoral Page) PRAYING FOR COWORKERS IN OUTREACH

By Asst Ps Gift Daniel


The need for prayer is ever increasing. We are standing at a point in church history that the church of Jesus Christ is facing unprecedented challenges and oppositions. Countries that are traditionally open to the gospel are tightening up their laws and restrictions. Congregations that had the freedom to meet weekly in shop-lots are under pressure to down-size their congregations to meet in houses so that it will not attract the attention of the government authorities. Persecution and threats are becoming real and happening to friends we know and closer to our homes.


The persecutions that threaten world missions today are not very different from the persecutions we read in the book of Acts. Through various situations of opposition and persecution, the early church in Acts learnt to be vigilant in prayer. The early church knows that only through prayer oppositions to the gospel can be changed into opportunities for growth.


From the prayer of the church in Acts 4:23-31:

23. On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priest and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God “Sovereign Lord,”…. 29. Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30. Stretch out your hand….


I want to share with you as to how we can pray for the workers who are in the forefront of the mission fields they serve. The early church did not lament because persecution had begun; rather, the believers rejoiced and prayed. The following are some pointers we can glean from the prayer recorded in Acts 4:


1. Acknowledge the sovereignty of God

The prayer in Acts 4:24 starts with “Sovereign Lord” acknowledging the sovereignty of God over the situation. They know that whatever happens to them, God is the one who has the ultimate power, and He is in control. As we pray for our workers, let us first acknowledge the sovereignty of God over them, no matter what situations they are facing. God is sovereign over all the nations.


2. Submit to God including the threats and hindrances

Consider their threats. The church in Acts prayed by submitting to God even the possible threats they have heard. The church people did not seem to hide themselves because of threats. The church submitted their fears to the Lord instead of submitting to the fear and threats they heard. Let us submit to God the hindrances and threats our missionaries are facing. Few of our church planters in Nepal are threatened by the local community and radicals.


3. Pray for boldness

Enable your servants. The early church prayed for boldness. Boldness to speak the Word of God without fear. Boldness not to give into intimidations. They did not pray against those who persecuted them but prayed for their own faithfulness in witness. Our workers too need boldness to stand firm in the midst of opposition. Only the Holy Spirit can supply the boldness needed for our workers in the harvest field. One of our EquipAsia partners in a Southeast Asian country was in prison a few years ago. We prayed for him and eventually he was released from prison. While he was in custody, he witnessed to 750 prisoners and 25 security personnel. When the church prays, God answers.


4. Pray for God’s power to be demonstrated through our workers

Stretch out your hand. The early church prayed that God’s power be seen by the Gentiles as they proclaim the gospel and demonstrate the power of God not only by words but through their action. This is a needed prayer for our missionaries today, particularly for those who are serving in pioneering mission fields. Pray that God will use Christian workers to demonstrate the power of the gospel through words and action.


Let us not forget what happened when the church prayed. The Lord’s answer to the believers’ prayer for boldness was preceded by a shaking of their meeting place. After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they….. spoke the word of God boldly. (4:31)


So what do we do now?


Start praying for the missionaries and partners we support. As of date, we support (fully or in part) more than 60 full-time workers overseas. They are serving in various capacities, some as missionaries, project staff, partners in missions, master trainers and students in theological seminaries. If you want to know some of them and their specific prayer needs, please contact Asst Ps Gift Daniel at giftdaniel@biblechurch.sg. For Nepal Church Planters, you can receive a quarterly update. If you need one, please contact Paul Lim at paullimkk@gmail.com.


Let us pray earnestly for boldness in witnessing emulating the prayer of the first Christians in Acts 4. May we personally experience boldness in our walk and witness too!

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