Our Let’s Start Talking (LST) mission project this summer is unusual in that we know the people we will be working with. We worked with the same brothers and sisters two summers ago. In our previous LST projects, we were working with a congregation for the first time. Because I know many of the key people involved in making this mission work a success, I have been praying for them by name for some time.
Knowing I will have some of the same readers I had in 2012, I have a list of names I remember and lift up in prayer. I look ahead to the month of July when we will do most of our work; I pray about the social events that help everyone get acquainted with the local church members. I pray about the worship services which we hope some of our readers will visit.
I think of the preparation missionary Cris Carpenter has done and is doing to help make our work as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
This was certainly an approach Paul used in some of his letters. After he had worked with a congregation and was anticipating visiting again, he would begin or end the letter by remembering them fondly and affirming his prayers for them. For example, he wrote to the church at Philippi: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians1:3-4.) He lets them know he is looking forward to seeing them again soon, but in the meantime he hopes to send his special follow worker, Timothy, to them (Philippians 2:19-24). He tells them he is sending Epaphroditus back to them because he longs to see his friends after his serious illness (Philippians 2:25-27).
I think about the community of Christians we are leaving in Cheviot and all the things happening in ministry there in July and August. There will be Vacation Bible School, church camps, weekly volleyball, Life Groups, the Bread of Life Cafe, and the men’s retreat, among other ministries. Often our prayers are for what is happening today or this week, but we can also think to the weeks and months ahead.
Get a head start in prayer time by considering the ministries you will be involved with the rest of the summer. The LST projects motivate me to plan ahead to ways I can serve the Lord that my day-to-day activities often push aside.
Why should these ministries be of such great concern to us? Why should our thoughts be on people we want to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ? As Paul writes in the same Philippian letter, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20.)