October 6 – After Start

October 6 – After Start

Matthew 18:19-20

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

It cost $35, my first automobile, and I was very grateful to have a friend who would sell his ancient and diminutive 1931 Austin at such a price, but it wouldn’t start! After weeks of tinkering and conning the neighborhood kids into pushing me round and round the block, one glorious day it coughed into life. A start is a great thing. But only if it is the beginning of movement. Sadly, the object of my pride and affection soon sputtered to a stop. In fact, like some new Christians who worked so hard to get started, that Austin never did go very far. Start is emptied of significance if it stops!

Has your walk with God proven to be static state – motionless or will it prove to be the beginning of dynamic movement with God for a lifetime? Let’s spend a few minutes in thinking about how to keep moving and even accelerate advancing the Kingdom.

To build momentum we pray and plan, as well as plan and pray. Some are better at planning than praying, but they don’t get very far in advancing God’s purposes, like a well-designed engine with no fuel. Others are strong on prayer but not much for concrete planning, like igniting a tank of gasoline in the street. Lots of excitement but not much mileage. Both prayer and planning are needed, and they are needed together, plans emerging from and effected through prayer, prayer focused on and resulting in action.

When it comes to accomplishing God’s purpose of world evangelism we are talking about a particular kind of prayer: intercessory warfare, both strategic and tactical. Strategic prayer is for the whole cause of world evangelism and is most effective when based on a promise of God. “Ask of me,” the Father promised his Son, “and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession” (Psalm 2:8). How about joining the Son in asking the Father for one specific unreached “nation” or people? And keep on warring in prayer combat till the answer comes!

One of our regular number was missing from our prayer group and we were asked to pray for him as he was in London at a strategy meeting to plan the conquest of Albania. They told me that as freshmen, five of them had banded together to pray for the five most unreached nations of the world and now as seniors they were planning their initial assaults.

Another strategic prayer: “Pray the Lord of the harvest that he will thrust out laborers into the harvest” (Matthew 9:39). Pray for the whole enterprise, as we are woefully shorthanded even today, over 2,000 years after Christ said, with broken heart, “The laborers are few.” Pray for students preparing for Christian ministry, by name if you know any. Strategic prayer.

But this same prayer can be tactical, praying by name for those we know who might be used of God in some unharvested field. Perhaps someone who hasn’t yet caught fire, perhaps someone who had the vision but now wavers, but certainly needs prayer reinforcement. Tactical prayer is not for the whole cause of world evangelism but for one particular battle, one particular person or team. And tactical prayer includes the personal, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” Daily reaffirm to the Lord your commitment, seek to know his assignment for you for that day and for the future, and claim his power for your life and witness.

Not only private prayer, however, is essential to successfully prosecute the war. There is power in united prayer (Matthew 18:19, 20). Pray with a partner, pray with a team of allies who have the same heart, pray regularly and meet on special occasions of extended prayer. God moves in answer to the united prayer of an obedient people. Neglect prayer and the most wonderful start won’t move you very far for God.

After starting, where? Keep going! Pray and plan, plan and pray, get involved, and partner with others to make sure that God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven – swiftly, whole-heartedly, fully, to completion – and to make your own life count to the maximum for his purpose of world evangelization!

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