Will You Pray With Me, P-L-E-A-S-E?
In a former article a request was made that you pray with me that laborers be sent forth into the harvest (Matt. 9:36-38), and that the lost may be saved (Rom. 10:1). Have you been praying with me? If you have you likely have made a determined effort to teach some lost soul this week. When we pray our prayers must be characterized by humility (Lk. 18:9-14), earnestness (Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1), persistence (Lk. 18:1-8), and continuity or importunity (Lk. 11:5-8). If you will keep praying the Lord will find a way for YOU to win some soul to Christ!
When we pray for the lost we should not pray only in general terms. All of us know of someone who needs to be saved. It may be a member of our family, someone at work, or a close friend or neighbor. Perhaps it is someone we have known for years but have failed to teach about Christ and His church. Most of us know personally many people who are lost, and in many instances nothing has been said to them about Christ.
This is where we should begin. These are the ones we should pray for first, for these are the ones WE can reach! Resolve in your heart right now to mention in your prayers someone by name every day for two weeks. If you will not do this your love for his soul is not as great as you thought. If you will do it you will seek to arrange a study with him before the two weeks have passed. Will you pray with me, P-L-E-A-S-E ?
Pray For Boldness To Teach The Lost
Paul asked the brethren at Ephesus to pray "that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak" (Eph. 6:19-20.) If we are ever to begin making the great commission personal (and we must if we are to reach every creature) we must stop praying for gospel preachers only and begin praying for every Christian — beginning with ourselves. Only with the assistance of the ordinary men in the pew (all of them!) can we successfully fulfill our mission to take the gospel to every creature.
The reason many will not go into the harvest to reap lost souls is because they lack the boldness which Paul believed could be supplied through the prayers of the brethren. Boldness is that quality which enables one to speak courageously the truth of the gospel without hesitancy regardless of the consequences (Cf. Acts 4:13).
Paul was in chains for the gospel's sake. Out of fear for his life he would be tempted not to make known the gospel as boldly as he should. Brethren, there is a great need today that we pray "at all seasons in the Spirit . . . for all the saints" (Eph. 6:18), and one of the greatest needs we all have is boldness to speak the truth in love.
It is only natural that Christians have some fear when they try to win others to Christ, but it is certainly not in keeping with their duty to shun their obligation because of it. Our fear should be small indeed when our circumstances are compared with those of the apostles and early Christians. Our lives are not at stake! But some brethren act as though they were.
When fear of personal evangelism is so great that it causes one not to seek the lost, often it stems from the absence of an adequate prayer life and a lack of experience. If one's prayer life is what it should be, personal evangelism will naturally follow — that is, of course, if one is praying for the lost! — and experience will enable one to overcome a great deal of his fear. Too often, however, the Christian's cowardice comes from a lack of Bible knowledge (which naturally brings a feeling of inadequacy), little love for lost souls, or a lack of conviction. In any case, nothing short of true conversion will accomplish the desired end.
Pray That God May Be Glorified
Jesus prayed for the Father to glorify the Son, "that the Son may glorify thee" (Jno. 17:1). He glorified His Father while on earth (Jno. 17:4), and His greatest desire now was that He might glorify Him in His own exaltation to the throne of the Father. The Christian should be sober unto prayer, fervent unto love, hospitable one to another, always speaking as it were the oracles of God, and ministering as of the strength which God supplies, "that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 4:7-11).
Jesus told his apostles, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples" (Jno. 15:7-8). Does "herein" in verse eight refer back to verse seven or to what follows in verse eight? Westcott points out: "The pronoun looks back while at the same time the thought already indicated is developed in the words which follow. The end which God regards in answering prayer is that ye may bear much fruit." Verse sixteen implies that the "fruit" about which Jesus speaks is the souls saved through the preaching of the apostles: ... I have chosen you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." The apostles are the first laborers the Lord sent forth into his harvest (See Matt. 9:36-38 again). By their abiding in Christ much fruit would be borne, and God would be glorified.
The greatest glory the Christian can give to God is to bring a lost soul to Christ. There is no greater fruit for us to bear than this. Truly, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; And he that is wise winneth souls" (Prov. 11:30). Will you pray with me, please, that God may be glorified through YOU as a soul winner for Jesus?
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