Thursday, January 16, 2014

How Missions-Minded are you? By Karen Finn

How Missions-Minded are you? 

 By Karen Finn

Caitlyn looked forward to camp every summer. She’d been going ever since she was in junior high. There was always so much to do, and it was fun making new friends. The preaching was good too, causing Caitlyn to re-evaluate some of her attitudes and actions. However, this year was different. Seven of her nine cabin-mates had been on a mission’s trip, which got her thinking. I’d like to do that, she thought. I’m going to pray about doing that next summer. 

Do you think that the Holy Spirit was speaking to Caitlyn’s heart? I think so. Her exposure to God’s Word in a camp-setting was stirring up not only conviction, but a challenge to look outward at the need of others. Being “missions-minded” is having a greater awareness of the spiritual need that exists all around you. Our minds automatically envision a foreign culture or an impoverished country. Yet, there may be multiple, local opportunities God is placing right under your nose! If you are in a public school setting, that is a mission field, for sure! What about the older residents at the local nursing home, who enjoy visitors? Reaching out to a lonely neighbor, an introverted teenager, or an unsaved relative—all of these are occasions to minister and put into action what God commands us to do.

Traveling to a far-off place has a distinctive, glamorous sense to it, doesn’t it? However, we never stop to think about the obstacles that are dealt with, day in and day out. I know of one missionary couple, which set out with eagerness and excitement to share God’s Word, only to realize that they had to spend three years in language study before they were able to communicate with the inhabitants. It was frustrating to not be able to jump right into the work they had planned on doing. During those three years, the husband and his wife cultivated an attitude of patience, resting in the knowledge that God would ultimately use them as He wished. What a humbling experience!

Whether or not Caitlyn gets to go on that desired mission’s trip, she can play a vital part now, in supporting those who are already on the mission-field.  James 5:16b proclaims, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Our prayers have the power to direct the hand of God, and should not be taken lightly. Paul gives us a pattern for prayer in Colossians 1:9-12: “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (KJV).”

Here is an outline of specific requests you can bring to God concerning those who are serving in the field as a missionary:

1.) Pray for them to be in God’s Will.

2.) Pray for them to be filled with wisdom and discernment.

3.) Pray that their actions will please God.

4.) Pray that they will treat others well.

5.) Pray that their work on the field is productive.

6.) Pray that their relationship with God remains close, always growing.

7.) Pray that they will remain strengthened and continue to be steadfast.   

8.) Pray that they would have a thankful spirit in all things.

Paul’s prayer pattern can actually be applied to our own, everyday lives. The spiritual needs listed for missionaries, are quite similar to what we should personally strive for—discernment, strengthening, thankfulness, etc. Use this list as a reminder to support those who are making a sacrifice to leave the comforts of home, and are willing to take the Gospel (“Good News”) to those who need it. And, apply it for your own personal use, realizing that God is preparing you to serve on the mission field he has planned for you!


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