The Sending Force Of Going
By James Bigelow
In the September issue of the Apostolic Accent, I wrote of prayer as the spiritual force of giving, concluding that the grace of giving is nowhere cultivated to a richer growth than in the prayer closet. If the spirit of prayer for worldwide missions prevailed in our local churches, monthly pressure from the pulpit for funds to support PIM’s would be unnecessary and pastors would not suffer the embarrassment of dropping some of their missionaries.
Not only must there be givers; there must be goers, and the sending force behind them is prayer.
The missionary movement in the early church was born in an atmosphere of fasting and prayer. When the time was ripe for God to offer the blessings of the
church to the Gentiles, Peter was on the housetop praying. It was there that God showed him his divine purpose to extend the privileges of the gospel to all flesh, and to break down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile.
Paul and Barnabas were definitely called and set apart to the missionary field at Antioch when the church there had fasted and prayed. It was then the Holy Spirit answered from heaven: “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
This was not the call of Paul and Barnabas to the ministry; it was their definite call to the foreign field. As E. M. Bounds said in his book, ‘The Essentials of Prayer’, “This was a subsequent call to a work born of special and continued prayer in the church at Antioch. Missionary work is God’s work and it is God-called men who are to do it. It is the business of the church to do the praying; it is the Lord’s business to call and send forth the laborers.”
No prayer-less missionary can bring heathen idolaters who know not our God to their knees in true prayer. As it takes praying men at home to do God’s work, so also does it take praying missionaries to bring light to those who sit in darkness.
The most noted and most successful missionaries have been preeminently men of prayer. David Livingstone, William Taylor, Adoniram Judson, Henry Martyn, and Hudson Taylor, with many more, formed a band of illustrious praying men who made an impact that still abides where they labored. No prayer-less people are wanted for this job. Let them be of such caliber as Billy and Shirley Cole, Bug and Nona Freeman, the Shalms, the Scisms, Lucille Farmer, the Drosts, the Morleys and others of like precious faith. And when the crowning day comes, and the records are made up and read at the great judgment day, it will appear how well praying men wrought in the hard fields of heathendom, and how much was due to them in laying the foundations of Christianity in those fields.
The one condition that gives worldwide power to this gospel is prayer, and the spread of the gospel will depend on prayer. The energy that gives the missionary movement marvelous momentum and conquering power over all its malignant and powerful foes is the energy of prayer. “Ask of me”, says the Lord, “and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost part of the earth for thy possession. ”
It is prayer that enables him to break his foes with a rod of iron and that makes them tremble in their pride and power. They are but frail potter’s vessels, to be broken in pieces by one stroke of his hand. A person who can pray is the mightiest instrument Christ has in this world. A praying church is stronger than all the gates of hell.
The salvation of mankind rests upon these constitutional provisions, God’s decree, his promises and prayer. This has been true from the time Abraham stood before the righteous judge of all the earth, voicing his “peradventures” down to our present dispensation. God sends out laborers in his harvest field to rescue the perishing in answer to the prayers of his church even as he dispatched angels to Sodom in answer to the entreaties of his friend and sent Moses to confront Pharaoh head-on when he heard the groanings of his people in slavery.
This was, is, and shall always be the divine plan as set forth by our Lord. “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were as sheep having no shepherd Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. ”
It is the will of God that the churches of the Oregon District pray until missionaries are sent forth, not only to evangelize our state, but to preach the gospel in every nation.
This article “The Sending Force Of Going” by James Bigelow is excerpted from Apostolic Accent.