I knew a man who used to work in the slums in a big city. Every day he’d be pulling people out of garbage cans, feeding them, clothing them, and doctoring them up- only to pull them out again the next day. And the next day. And the next day. He did this for two or three years, but didn’t seem to be making any difference in these people’s lives, or making any progress in helping them, or pointing them to Jesus.
Well, while he was working at this day after day, a pastor came to visit and help out for a few days. And suddenly, people were getting saved left and right! The man who had been there for years was dumbfounded and actually quite frustrated! Here he had been pulling the same people out of the same garbage cans day after day, faithfully taking care of them for years! But then here comes this other pastor, and within days people were getting saved! It didn’t seem quite fair. What had made the difference? So he asked the pastor his secret.
“It’s this: smile all day, and cry all night,” the pastor said. He went on to explain that the key was prayer. The pastor spent all day serving and loving on people, and he spent all night in prayer, fighting for their souls. It was prayer. That was where the battle lay. That was the deciding factor.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. -James 5:16 (NIV)
And in Jesus, we are righteous!
I’ve seen the same thing in my own life on smaller scales. The more that I saturate a ministry project or something in prayer, the better it goes. For example, there was this Bible study. Everything had been prepared, and the first meeting was set to go. But then, we discovered last minute that the place we were meeting had been double booked. And then now one showed up anyway after we fixed the problem! It was quite the… adventure. However, the next time, I made sure to pray for every detail and to leave it all in God’s hands. And despite my mess-ups, God arranged everything perfectly. This sort of thing has happened over and over again.
So, pray! It’s not just a small part of things…no, it’s one of the most important things! Pray that God would work out all the details. Pray that He would provide a way for the people to be there who need to be there and that those who shouldn’t aren’t. Pray that He would prepare the hearts of the people you are called to minister on, that they may be ready to hear His truth. Pray that you would have courage, that you would have the words to say- in whatever you’re doing! Pray. 🙂
Your sister in Christ,