I offered this prayer on Sunday during our church’s annual Missions Week.
Our Father in heaven,
We come to you this morning in the name of Jesus. Our hearts are bowed because you are Lord. You rose from the dead, and even now, you reign over your church. So, we’re coming to ask you to work powerfully in and through us.
Every day, we have our Bibles. Every week, we gather freely to worship you together. Every year, as American Christians, we have complete freedom to give and send and go and share. And every moment, the world lies before us, corrupted by sin and emptiness.
You have designed and shaped each one of us. You have blessed us with the rich diversity spread across our planet. Yet across every continent, including our own, there is spiritual darkness. Every person, family, tribe, town, city, country, and nation has strayed from you. We have all gone our own way.
We thank you for your saving, sending heart that reached down to us when we couldn’t reach up to you. We thank you for the perfect life and atoning death and victorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we are saved, and sent. We thank you for your Spirit who lives among us, filling us with truth and love and courage to bear witness to your grace.
We thank you that you’ve always used this church to send your good news around the globe. We thank you for our many ministry partners here this morning. We thank you for the priceless gospel we’ve inherited from those who shared it with us. And we thank you for your patience with our church. Because we have much to confess.
We confess that we often forget the gospel. We confess that we’re often self-consumed, more committed to our own ambitions than your kingdom. We confess that our great wealth and comfort numbs us to the needy in our own city and streets and schools. We confess that we’re more like the priest and Levite than the Good Samaritan, more like Jonah than Jesus, more like the world than Christ.
We confess that we’re richly blessed to know you, but often lethargic about making you known. Please forgive us, and upend our self-centered lives. Wash us clean of our pettiness and complaining and apathy. Renew our hearts with a passionate love for lost people.
We need your strength, O God, to obey your Great Commission. We need courage to go into the world and make disciples. We need faith to trust that you will put the words in our mouths at the right time. We need humility to remember that you alone can save. We need you to orchestrate our relationships so that Christ can be shared.
Please soften our hearts, lift our eyes, and change our plans. Strengthen our resolve to follow you, and show us the path you want us to walk as a church. Please choose and send whomever you choose to send. Teach us to say, “Here I am, send me” when you make your voice clear. Help us be ready to leave behind our friends on earth so that we might gain more friends for eternity.
For all our ministry partners currently serving you, we ask that you give them supernatural strength. Give them renewed hope. Make them satisfied in you alone so that they can endure the losses and burdens and challenges they face. When they say, “Jesus, I’ve left everything to follow you,” remind them of the great privilege of being your ambassadors. And help us to stand behind them with prayer and encouragement and generosity so that their hearts and hands do not grow weary.
Father, we ask that you glorify Christ among the nations. Make his gospel known. Make his family grow. Make his name great. And when he comes again, we ask that he would find us faithfully working in his fields, because the harvest is ripe.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Through Christ we pray,