Apostolic Prayer #3 (Apostolic Evangelism #6)

The Psalmist wrote: “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6) When was the last time you sowed in tears, with a broken heart for the condition of the lost? Most often my eyes are dry and my heart, although not hard, is not focused on the lost and dying. I believe that God wants our hearts to break with the one thing that breaks His heart – the lost going to hell. Think of it, He created us for fellowship and to share His love with and people either reject His offer or, worse still, have never heard of His offer. As a result they spend eternity in hell separated from the very God who created them and wanted to have a relationship with them.

This is not just some nice religious theory. Jesus demonstrated this heart for the lost when He wept over the city of Jerusalem: “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.'” (Luke 19:41-42) Consider this: Jesus wept over the very people who only a short time later would shout, “Crucify Him!”

Paul the apostle likewise had this same broken heart for the Jewish people who had not yet been saved. Everywhere Paul went, these religious people were a thorn in his flesh. Yet look at Paul’s passionate prayers for them:

“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” (Romans 10:1)

“I tell you the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bears me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites… (Romans 9:1-4)

Paul loved his persecutors so much that he would be willing to be cut off from Christ in order to bring them to salvation! As remarkable as Paul’s sacrificial prayer life was, he was not the only one who prayed that way. Look at Moses’ intercessory prayer for the Israelites:

“Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, ‘You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to The Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.’ Then Moses returned to The Lord and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.'” (Exodus 32:30-32)

Here are examples of true intercession. Like the examples of Jesus, Paul and Moses, intercession means loving people so intensely that we are willing to lay down our lives to stand in the gap for their salvation. In the church today man has made this ministry into something only certain people are called to and they become the ‘experts’ often praying for everything but the lost. Then, the rest of the Christians don’t need to pray with such intensity because they are not called to this ministry. Nonsense! Everyone is called to pray for and speak to the lost about the love of Jesus.

So, maybe, just maybe, we should first pray for ourselves – praying for a “heart transplant.” This would allow us to receive His broken heart in exchange for our sometimes selfish and uncaring hearts. Then we would see powerful prayers for the lost.

2 replies
  1. Sharon Kuhn
    Sharon Kuhn says:

    It is amazing how we (I did it for a very long time, till the Spirit showed me otherwise) tend to think a feel that their aren’t people out there with a heart for the lost. Yet the Lord Himself said “I have a remnant” and He also said “My Father can raise up children from these rocks”. I have been introduced to a large group of people here and from other parts of the country and world that do nothing but pray, intercede and seek the “lost”. Prayers that come from the very core of their being. I am humbled by their devotion to seeking and saving the lost. I think we get tripped up thinking that everyone we meet should automatically get on “our” vision bandwagon, we need to understand what is meant when scripture says, if they are for us than they can’t be against us. Paraphrased. As long as people hear the Gospel. The Holy Spirit of God must draw them before we can affect them. That is why there are so many different ways to present and share. One size doesn’t fit all.

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  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    I agree that there are small pockets of believers who are praying AND going out into their world to seek and save the lost. I would not call them a remnant as that was a word that is not used in the New Testament and was used in reference only to Israel. Yes, we have created a “church theology” out of the word but it is simply a manmade teaching. However, we are all called to go into our world and tell others the night and day difference that Jesus has and is making. My point was – generally that is not happening. Most believers (I would not all them disciples) never witness and statistics prove that less than 5% of believers ever lead someone to The Lord in their lifetime. Excuses abound but Jesus did say that if we follow Him He would make us into fishers on men. So, I can only conclude that the majority of believers are not disciples – and are not following Jesus. If you are not fishing – you are not following. Interesting though that the same people at a worship service will raise their hands and tell Jesus how much they love Him. However, Jesus said that out love would be seen in a very practical way: “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” And, so our love is seen by our going into all the world and talking to others about Jesus. After all, that was the only mandate that He left His Church – the Church that He is building today.

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