Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Praying: even more powerful than going

I was excited to pick up my wife and Greg and Beth Demme last night at the airport, welcoming them back from their mission trip to Toulouse, France.  I'm so glad they were able to go and be our 'hands, feet, eyes and ears', representing our church to the church planting missionaries who serve there year round - discovering ways in which we might better support that missionary work.  During their absence, we encouraged you to pray for their trip and its gospel fruitfulness.  I hope you did pray for them.

If I asked you, "Which activity, going to the mission field as Terri and the Demmes just did or staying home and praying for them, is more powerful for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom?" how would you respond?  Most would instinctively think that going is more powerful.  After all, in going we are able to actually see the missions work in action; we're able to lend a hand in practical ways toward its fulfillment; we're able to speak the gospel to the lost in that foreign land, etc.  All those things are true.  I don't want to diminish the great importance of going.  It is vital.  Still, prayer, at the end of the day, proves just as important and even more spiritually powerful.  Consider a quote from the missionary/preacher SD Gordon (1859-1936):
The greatest thing each one of us can do is to pray.  If we can go personally to some distant land, still we have gone to only one place.  Prayer puts us into direct dynamic touch with an [entire] world.  A man may go aside today, shut his door and really spend a half hour of his life in India for God as though he were there in person.  Surely you and I must get more half hours in for this secret service.
In light of what Gordon says, it wasn't only three from Trinity who went to France last week to help advance the Kingdom of Christ, many of us did.  In terms of the spiritual reality of eternity and the movement of the Holy Spirit, we who prayed were in Toulouse just as much as the friends we sent.  And today through our prayers we can take missions trips to Russia, Nigeria, Argentina or Turkey.  Nothing replaces going to the mission field, for the lost need to hear the gospel from our lips, but our missionary prayers at home are no less powerful.  Where in the world will your prayers take you today?

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