Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Prayer: The Work of Missions

From John Piper, in 1988...
In order to mobilize a movement of prayer in the church and in order to sustain a will to pray in our hearts, we must think and talk about other things besides prayer. This is the key lesson I have learned in recent years.

1. We must talk first about war. Because life is war. And it is utterly impossible for people to know what prayer really is until they know that they are in a war, and until they know that the stakes of that war are infinitely higher than the stakes in the Persian Gulf or in the Reagan-Gorbachev consultations.

2. We must talk about the Sovereignty of God. Because only from this great truth can we know that we will win the war. And only then will we have hope and strength to press on in a life of prayer.

3. Then, when we have spoken first about the war we are in and next about the sovereignty of God, then we can come to what I will call the awesome place of prayer in God's purposes for the world.
"The modern missionary movement did not arise in a theological vacuum. It grew out of a great Reformation tradition that put the sovereignty of God square in the center of human life. This we must talk about first. Without it, the confidence of prayer, the largeness of prayer, the boldness of prayer, and the perseverance of prayer vanish. And what you have left is a kind of lifeless vestige that most people think of as "the prayer meeting" - weak, uninspired, small-minded. A heart of prayer and a movement of prayer for missions is sustained by focusing on something else first that life is war and that God is sovereign."

Read the full article. Prayer: The Work of Missions

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