Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

Uphold Gospel Messengers in Joint Prayer

by Dick Wulf | Course Two

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All those taking the good news of Jesus Christ to unbelievers need to be supported by the prayers of Christians coming to God in agreement. Gospel messengers are assaulting Satan’s strongholds. Standing against the devil is no task for an individual. The work of missionaries, relief workers, and outreach helpers must be backed up with the prayers of God’s people, especially in Christian friendships, Christian families and Christian marital teams.

Gospel messengers include missionaries as well as Christian relief workers, many parachurch ministries, inner-city outreaches, and ministries reaching out to the poor, disadvantaged, and addicts. Gospel messengers include Christians from many countries around the globe. There is no shortage of gospel messengers who need prayer support from Christian friendship groups, families, and marriages. To find a few to pray for if you do not know of any, do a computer search for Christian missionaries, Christian relief efforts, or Christian ministries.

What will be the lasting change in us if we pray for Christian missionaries, relief workers, and those in outreach ministries? If those prayers are quick and cursory, not much will change in our spirits for heaven. Addressing a gospel messenger’s needs rapidly in prayer without mentioning details is too meager to change our spirits into something more godly to take with us to heaven. But, if we take a few deep breaths, stop the hectic nature of living, delay kicking back as if we have killed ourselves with work all day, then we can responsibly consider the things that gospel messengers are going through. This will make our spirits more like God who is deeply, not casually, concerned. This will be great preparation for heaven.

The change we want in our spirits is to value the salvation of people all over world. This is war, and praying for gospel messengers should be approached with the fervency of soldiers. Army cooks behind the battle lines know and feel that they are in the war. Prayer warriors for gospel messengers, like military chefs, must realize that they are essential to battle success. The more understanding of and empathy with gospel messengers for which we pray, the more we join them in the hard battle they face. This will mold our spirits to be more thankful for every citizen of heaven we meet there who came to belief by a gospel messenger.

In heaven we surely will want to know how people we meet got there. When we meet someone who came to belief because of a missionary, relief worker, or some outreach to the downtrodden, think of the happiness we will have if we have before death considered how difficult it was to reach them. Their stories will likely be quite different than our own, and seeing that gospel messengers reached them can be very joyful. But, for this joy and appreciation to be ours in heaven, we will have had to do some serious praying.

Even though we are not there in the day to day struggle to proclaim the gospel or provide food for starving people or a helping hand to the desperate, we can “be there” in heartfelt empathy and prayer for gospel messengers.

Warfare without pain, suffering, and sorrow is not really warfare at all. Gospel messengers are not playing a video game with a reset button. This opportunity to stand against Satan regarding the spread of the gospel has to have some blood, sweat and tears. We really do need to struggle against the forces of evil in the heavenly realms on behalf of those bringing the gospel to needy and resistant people.

When praying for the various types of gospel messengers, it helps to consider how Satan might work against them. It is our privilege to stand up to the devil by asking God in prayer to protect gospel messengers from whatever scheme of the devil comes to our minds.
The following fictional story might illustrate the spiritual reality of praying for gospel messengers. It is about a dinner party in heaven.

We are having a small dinner party when Jesus unexpectedly appears. He moves His chair around our circular table to be able to have a private conversation with each of us individually. He speaks with me about the joy He had when I led my grandmother to Him on her deathbed. We cry, laugh, and hug. Then He moves on to my friend Danette. I overhear the conversation because here in heaven privacy is not necessary, nothing needs to be hidden.

Jesus is thanking Danette for being there in one of His refugee camps in some Mediterranean country helping a nurse named Betty who was about to fold under the tremendous pressure of too many medical needs of others. Danette corrects the Lord and tells Him that she was never in any refugee camp but that she did pray for a nurse by that name in a particular refugee camp. “Then”, Jesus replies, “you were there”.

Obviously, God will appreciate those who did more than merely notice His efforts to reach out with His love to the peoples of the world through gospel messengers. To think that there will be no extra closeness with God for those who cared more about His main project on Earth makes no sense.

The only way we can participate in making disciples of all nations, unless we are a missionary or relief worker, is to be in prayer for them. We can be minimally or deeply involved – or something in between. If we want the closest relationship with God possible, we will need to be involved in prayer with details to our requests about what is closest to His heart for His gospel messengers. Developing empathetic understanding with gospel messengers in order to pray in depth for their needs takes us closer to God who is even more concerned for those things for which we pray.

When we get more in touch with the purpose of a missionary or relief worker or outreach helper, we are paying focused attention to what God has asked them to do. If we consider the mission God has given a gospel messenger and pray for it, we are developing a closer relationship with God. In heaven it will be so very rewarding to have additional closeness with God in our hearts as a result of caring for His gospel messenger servants in prayer.

We should make prayer for gospel messengers a regular activity of faith in our Christian friendships, families and marriages. Jesus told us that two or more Christians agreeing in prayer was extremely effective. We can learn how to be more detailed and specific from the Apostle Paul’s requests for prayer.

In his letters to churches found in the Bible, the Apostle Paul asked Christians to pray for him, not just individually, but together. He made these eight prayer requests.
In 2 Thess 3:1-2 Paul asked for prayer that (1) the gospel spread quickly through Paul and his team, (2) the gospel be honored by those who would hear it, and (3) the team of gospel messengers be protected from bad people without faith.

In Col 4:3-4 Paul asked for prayer that (4) opportunities would open up for proclamation of the gospel, and (5) that his words would be clearly understandable by those who need the Savior.
In Eph 6:18-20 Paul asked for prayer that (6) he may be given the words to speak from the Holy Spirit, (7) that he would be bold in speaking forth the unfamiliar truth of Jesus Christ, and (8) his boldness be proper, in the exact way that God would want things said.

In Luke 10:1-11, Jesus sends out 72 gospel messengers by two’s. Within His instructions to these 36 teams, we can see additional things about which to pray for those reaching out to others with the gospel.

Jesus asked them to pray for more people to join them as gospel messengers. We can ask that more Christians respond to God’s call to missions and ministry.
Jesus warned them of the dangers and discomforts they might face. We can pray for the safety of gospel messengers, recognizing that they are sticking their heads way out, often in hostile or unfriendly environments.

Jesus was concerned that they would have food and water. We can pray that provisions be supplied. We can pray for the generosity of others to make their ministry possible.

Jesus told them what was their mission. We can pray that gospel messengers do not lose sight of their mission and that they will discover God’s particular plan for them to win their way into people’s hearts.

Jesus gave them an “exit plan” if things did not go right. We can pray that gospel messengers know how to get out of difficult situations in which they can do no good. Surely, missionaries are misunderstood by those in the different cultures they are trying to reach. Relief workers can be distraught when the food they are distributing runs out and there are still hungry people waiting in line. We need to pray that they will have peace and know that they did what they could to serve the Lord.

In the most difficult circumstances, missionaries cannot speak so openly about the Bible. Therefore, their demeanor is most important. We can pray that their attitudes and conduct are so good that the message of the gospel still goes forth by the power and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, even though words are suppressed.

Last, Jesus assured these 32 teams that everything would come out all right. We can pray that the gospel messengers who are the focus of our prayer know that, even though it is difficult now , in the end it will be glorious.

While it seems standard practice to depend on organized churches to do this job of praying consistently for gospel messengers, this can only scratch the surface of the need. Time can rarely be made to pray for the specific needs of missionaries, relief workers, and outreach ministries. We cannot continue to believe our church assemblies are the main places for such prayer to be most effectively offered to our Lord. However, your church can approach this need for prayer in a more comprehensive way by motivating such prayer by friendships, families, and marriages in the church.

How easy would it be for two elderly women confined to their homes by illness to pray on the phone twice a week for one or two gospel messengers? Not difficult at all, and it would give these ladies cut off from church attendance a meaningful role in the work of their church.
How easy would it be for families to set aside one evening to pray for a couple of specific gospel messengers? Christian marriages could do the same.

For you to prepare for heaven by upholding gospel messengers in joint prayer and enjoying more every redeemed person when you get to heaven, arrange with two or more friends or family members specific times to get together for this purpose. What an important thing this will be for you to do. And, it will gain for you more closeness with God for all eternity.

Reflection & Group Tools

Pray together for Christian missionaries, relief workers, and outreach helpers. Seek their success, financial support, health, safety and perseverance.

Eph 6:19-20; Col 4:3-4; 2 Thess 3:1-2

Prayer to Embrace this Together
Dear Lord, I know that You want to reach into every nook and cranny of this world with Your love and send gospel messengers to make You known. Forgive me for not praying in any depth for a few missionaries, relief workers, or outreach helpers.
I and those in my Christian Inner Circle will need Your help to grow our spirits to remember to pray for missionaries, relief workers and outreach helpers. Help us to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit for all of us to give You more glory in the way we care in prayer for those You have sent out on difficult assignments.
Please assign to us in our Christian Inner Circles one to three specific gospel messengers for whom to pray. Help us to pray for them with an understanding of their needs. .
Please help us all to become more like Jesus and care for gospel messengers through prayer and other means of support. May we remember that many gospel messengers feel too alone in their tasks, are overwhelmed by the unmet needs they see all around them, and sometimes are in great danger.
May our lives worship You more because we talk to You on behalf of Your gospel messengers who are representing You in the unbelieving world. Wanting them to succeed in the assignments You have given them is our way of honoring You.
Make us strong in Your power to defeat the devil who desires to attack gospel messengers with evil forces. In prayer, lead us to stand with them against Satan and all of his strategies to hinder their mission. May we ever remember that we are in a war and gospel messengers are on the front lines and in need of our prayer support.
Help us all to prepare for heaven by growing more completely to care for the welfare of missionaries, relief workers and outreach helpers. This will gain for us great joy when we see them in heaven and out of the line of fire of the devil. Such praying will also ascribe more value to the salvation of all kinds of people, and we will value them more when we meet in heaven.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Your Spirit is most easily transformed in community. The tools below can facilitate your growth as you gather together with those you are in close Christian relationship with.

These are some of the possible benefits in heaven we will be seeking today by opening our minds to the Holy Spirit regarding upholding gospel messengers in joint prayer.
Our spirits will have changed to be more like God because we were more than just casually interested in people being introduced to Jesus Christ.

Our hearts in heaven will be more thankful whenever we meet someone who came to belief by the testimony of a gospel messenger.

We will be closer to God because we cared more about His main project on Earth of bringing people into His kingdom.

Sanctification Booster #1:

The apostle Paul asked for prayer for three things in 2 Thess 3:1-2. What were they?

Sanctification Booster #2:

The apostle Paul asked for prayer for two things in Col 4:3-4. What were they?

Sanctification Booster #3:

The apostle Paul asked for prayer for three things in Eph 6:18-20. What were they?

Sanctification Booster #4:

In Luke 10:1-11 Jesus sent our 72 gospel messengers with what things to pray for?