A few weeks ago, our church held a commissioning service for some short-term missionaries who were going to Mexico to proclaim the gospel and to serve the Church. Prayer is an important part of the sending process.
In Luke 9, Jesus set His sights on Jerusalem, expanding His efforts to reach more people with His good news (v. 51). He sent out an additional seventy-two messengers of the gospel, instructing them to go in pairs and to pray for even more workers to join them (10:1). This call to prayer highlights the fact that it is God who sends missionaries (not us!). Using agricultural imagery, Jesus described the mission field as a plentiful harvest. He warned them that this assignment would not be easy; they would be like lambs among the wolves.
Then Jesus gave clear and practical missionary training. They were to travel light and be focused. When they entered a home, they were to tell its inhabitants: “Peace to this house.” If that declaration was received with peace, they should stay, communing, healing, and proclaiming the kingdom of God (vv. 5–7).
But if they were rejected, they were to shake the dust of that city from their feet, as a public acknowledgment of the people’s choice to ignore the message of repentance. Even Tyre and Sidon, evil cities, infamous in the Old Testament, would fare better in the judgment than those who rejected their message.
This mission was a great success, and the seventy-two returned with joy over the power they saw. Jesus reminded them of their real source of joy: their own salvation and the promise of eternal life with God. Then Jesus, also full of joy and the Holy Spirit, prayed with gratitude to the Father for the work He had done through His messengers.
>> Does your church send and support missionaries? Find out the names of those missionaries and commit to support all or some of them in prayer. Your ministry of prayerful support is an important part of kingdom work!
Today we intercede for those whose hearts are hardened against You. You have the power to soften them. Break down their resistance and move them to submit and repent to You. Save them from their sin, as You have saved us.