Tag Archives: prayer

Are You Ready?

Because the Lord has great work in store for us, we must be ready! Waiting for someone who is late is frustrating; on the other hand, “I’m ready” are pleasing and uplifting words. Jesus said we must be ready to answer questions people ask us about our faith (I Peter 3:15).

In our culture, situations demand in various ways that we be ready. In baseball, the umpire will say, “Play ball.”  In an auto race, the words are, “Start your engines.” The Lord simply wants us to be in a state of readiness to serve Him when the opportunity presents itself. How can we be in constant readiness?

First, we must use repetition. Paul writes that we are to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). The early Christians took the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week. Each week has a first day, so for the Christian the repetition of weekly communion encourages us to be ready. Jesus had the habit of worship (Luke 4:16). Daniel had the habit of daily prayer (Daniel 6:10). These kinds of repetitive acts keep us ready for service.

Second, there are occasions when we need to be revived. Persecutions seemed to do that for the early church. In Acts 8:4, when the Christians scattered because of their faith, their dedication was renewed as they went everywhere preaching about Jesus. Worship services can revive us. Rest can revive us. People contact can revive us. Some people are uplifting simply by having a conversation with them. Helping with a mission effort, in person or financially, can revive us.

Third, we need to review our Christian service. Paul recounted his weaknesses and what he needed to do to keep them under control (I Corinthians 9:27). In II Timothy 4:6-8, Paul reviewed his life and knew he was ready to die. The rich young ruler had his life reviewed for him by the Lord and he was not ready. The review showed there was one thing missing, and that was his attitude toward the poor and his willingness to sacrifice material possessions. Review helps see what is keeping us from being ready.

A word for the servant of the Lord is ready!

Think Ahead

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.)