A couple weeks ago we talked in our worship services about the need for Christ followers to be people who are defined by the fact that they care about people far from God. There’s tons of material in the Bible about this, ranging from stories like how God used someone like Rahab the prostitute in the book of Joshua to the sending of Jonah to the pagan city of Nineveh to the story that Jesus told about the prodigal sons (just to name a few). It is clear that it is high on God’s heart that his people are defined by being people who care about those far from God.
A few weeks ago our campus pastors sent out an e-mail to everyone at our church, asking for everyone to send us the name of the people in their life they’re praying for to come into a relationship with Christ. We agreed to pray with everyone for the names they sent in (the response was pretty cool – I think we’ve had 40 different families respond with some names for us to pray for). It’s been a powerful experience.
But what’s also been cool to see is how God has worked in those stories. We’ve heard some neat e-mails and replies about stories of the tangible ways that God has responded to prayers for those in our lives who are far from him. I’ve heard one story of a woman who invited a co-worker to Suncrest and her co-worker really enjoyed the experience. Another person shared a story with me today of how they have a couple in their life that always said, “Don’t bother inviting us to church – we’re not going to come,” but after an invitation this week, guess what happened? They’re coming! Even in my own life, God’s provided some cool chances to invest and invite in the life of a friend who is far from him. It’s been cool to watch God at work in that story.
As I was thinking about what to write today, I was just struck by this: Prayer really works. It really does. Growing up in church, one of the pastors always said, “Prayer should always be the first option, not a last resort.” While I don’t often treat prayer as a last resort, I think I’m far from treating it as a first option either. But I’ve found myself in the past month or so being reminded that God desires to bless his people as they follow him. I think getting a chance to pray for the lost in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools has been a neat reminder to me that this stuff really does work. Prayer really does make a difference, even in the situations that might feel hopeless sometimes. Here are three verses I’d love to encourage you to think about today regarding prayer:
“If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
-2 Chronicles 7:14
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened… If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!“
-Jesus in Matthew 7:7-8; 11
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Keep praying! I can’t wait to see the stories of God moving in our lives, our campuses, and our church as we continue to seek him.