Sunday, November 20, 2016, has been set aside as Mission Prayer Sunday in the Texas District. It is a great day, indeed, a great week for prayer. Later in the week our families will gather together to give thanks to God for all of His provision in the past and pray for his continuing provision in the future. We will worship, eat, sit and also cheer for various football teams, all of which marks the beginning of weeks of holiday celebration.
Liturgically, November 20, is the last Sunday of the church year. A new liturgical year will begin in only seven days. With the last Sunday of the church year, an urgency is established. Jesus is coming again. He is coming as judge. His coming will be a day of full reckoning. That is the last Sunday of the church year. But the very next Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent. Then we realize that He is coming to restore. We look forward to remembering His birth in Bethlehem. We will be called to proclaim the gospel and to celebrate, rejoicing in God our Savior.
This is no symbolic notion. This is not simply a call from history and tradition. This is reality. This is the most critical of all messages for all of humanity. Literally billions of souls are at stake. (Millions in our own neighborhoods.) I do not over state this truth. People who do not know Jesus and who die apart from faith in Him will spend eternity separated from the Father. That is hell.
But the Father’s desire is always to restore. The Father uses us to bring that message of restoration. Jesus said, “Even as the Father has sent Me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) We are a people on mission. That is why we pray for the mission. We are people who are frail, weak, limited and even unaware of the full impact of sin against and what separation from God really means. We are also people who are forgiven, received, empowered and sent under the authority of Jesus with life transforming words that point people to Jesus.
We need God’s strength to do this. We are not on mission alone. That is why we pray for the mission. Jesus says, “pray that the Father send workers.” (Mat 9:38) When you read this passage how can you not sense the urgency of Jesus’ call for prayer when it comes to the kingdom?
Paul, one who went on mission, calls for prayers from God’s people so that doors would open and so that he would have the words that will have meaning to those with whom he speaks. Paul also talks about the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves. It is not a flesh and blood issue. Instead the struggle exists in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6). That is why we pray.
John writes to his readers (3 John 8) that supporting (gk: hupolambano meaning, to take up in order to raise, to bear on high) those who have gone out is not only a faithful thing but it establishes fellowship in the truth. That support includes spiritual support. Spiritual support also comes through your prayers. Another reason to pray.
This coming November 20, I invite you to pray for the mission and for the missionaries of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in Texas. I also invite you to become a mission prayer partner who regularly raises up the mission we have in Texas throughout the year. As you spend time with the Father, give thanks and pray for God’s protection over those who are in the heat of the spiritual battle knowing that you can enter the mission with your petition.
For more information, visit txlcms.org/mission-prayer.
By: Rev. Steve Misch
Mission & Ministry Facilitator, Area A