Let's Pray for the Fulfillment of the Great Commission
There are approximately 228,000 people who live in the Sioux Falls "metro area." If the statewide stats are true in Sioux Falls, somewhere around 75% of people in our city don't know Jesus in a saving way. If 2,280 people came to know and trust Jesus Christ, that would move that number from 75% lost to 74% lost.
It would take 2,280 new believers to make a 1% dent in the lostness of our city. That's a lot of new disciples. And it's possible!
"So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41).
"And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).
"This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks" (Acts 19:10).
As members of Emmaus Road Church, our shared mission is to make and multiply disciples of Jesus Christ. We do that by living our everyday lives on mission in order to give every resident of our city repeated opportunities to hear and respond to the gospel.
If we're going to grow in the joyful task of talking about Jesus, and if we're going to see anywhere close to 2,000 people saved, it's going to start with a commitment to prayer.
Jesus Prayed for the Lost
Jesus is both our Savior and our example, and Jesus prayed for the lost. In John 17:20, Jesus prayed, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word." He also taught his disciples to "pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:38).
Paul Relied on Prayer
When we think of great missionaries, church planters, and evangelists, is there anyone who stands out in church history like the apostle Paul? And yet Paul never rested on his laurels or boasted in his own ability. He placed no confidence in human strategies or formulas, in eloquence or dynamic personality types. After preaching the gospel and planting churches across the Roman Empire, the apostle Paul knew that he was completely dependent on the work of God.
That's why Paul asked the church in Ephesus to pray "that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak" (Ephesians 6:19–20).
He asked the Thessalonians, "Brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored" (2 Thessalonians 3:1).
And he asked the Colossians, "Pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ" (Colossians 4:3).
If Paul, the great missionary, church planter, and evangelist, was desperate for the help of God through the prayers of the saints, then so should we be.
Let's Pray for the Lost
I set a reminder on my phone to go off every morning at 7 a.m. It simply says, "Pray for the lost!" With that prompt, I make a point to stop whatever I'm doing as soon as I can and pray for several of my neighbors by name. After receiving that daily reminder for several months, I've developed a habit and I hardly need the alert anymore. Praying daily for my neighbors increases my interest in their lives, my concern for their needs, and my desire to get to know them.
It has also exposed my weakness and my unbelief. I've had thoughts like, "I don't feel like praying again," or, "I've been praying, but nothing has happened." Committing to pray daily has reminded me that God has been patiently committed to his mission of building his Church and filling the earth with his glory much longer than I have. That caused me to start praying for my own heart, that I would be earnestly committed to gospel mission, broken for those who don't yet know Jesus, and passionate about pursuing those who are far from God.
Will you join me in praying daily for the fulfillment of the Great Commission? Let's pray for each other, that God would grant us such delight in the gospel and such love for the lost that we would speak boldly of Jesus. And let's pray for friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors, that God would shine in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Find a way to remind yourself, then pray!