Luke 10:1-3 NLT - The Lord now chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.
Ephesians 6:18-19 NIV - And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, giving His church the same mission in our making of more disciples. This mission extends beyond our local region to all nations. In advancing world evangelism, our three main areas of missions participation include, praying, giving, and going.
The role of prayer in world evangelism is vital, but the Biblical emphasis may be different than most realize. Jesus never commanded prayer for the harvest (lost souls) but for the laborers (missionary-disciples). In Ephesians 6, Paul concludes his teaching on spiritual warfare with the lifeline of prayer. Specifically, Paul instructed the church to pray for all the Lord’s people (not the lost). In terms of missionary work, again Paul requested prayer - not for the lost nations but for himself. Paul requested prayer for the right words to speak, the wisdom and anointing to effectively teach, and the courage to proclaim Jesus boldly no matter the hostility or mockery. While it is not wrong to pray for lost souls in Biblically-acceptable ways, what is clear is that the New Testament teaches the need to pray for those who are actively involved in advancing world evangelism - that God would give them the spiritual, physical, financial, and emotional support to effectively present Jesus to the nations. Jesus also gave us the prayer request to pray for laborers to go into the harvest field of lost souls. Will you pray the way the Bible instructs? Will you pray that God would do what’s needed for you to be an answer to Christ’s prayer request?