A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities

Does it bug you as it does me when people tell others to do something you’re pretty sure they’re not doing themselves? I bet my kids wonder about this when I tell them to take naps, but I stay awake.

Of course, they’ve no idea how much I’d love to take a nap too!
You know the old saying, “Those can’t do, teach.” Hoping to avoid proving this, I work hard to not ask anyone, including you, to do something I’m not willing to do myself.

But this month, I’m sealing the deal. I’m going to implement each of the following ideas. If it goes well, I’ll write about it. If not, I’ll sweep it under the rug! So here we go. Brief but binding.

1. Get (or renew) your passport! 

I know, you couldn’t have traveled this past year if you wanted to, so why bother? Well, my friends, that ship has sailed. Many ships are sailing again, planes are flying, trains are tracking, and God may be fixing to invite you to go somewhere super cool. Most of the least-loved lands on the planet pretty much insist on a passport to let you in. If you don’t have one, it’s very difficult to obey God if he asks you to go love the people there. 
If you live in the U.S. and want a passport, say for a possible trip with me next spring to reach out to Muslim immigrants in Italy, you may want to get on it. According to the State Department, “Routine service can take up to 18 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received!” (The exclamation mark at the end of that sentence is mine. The chill State Department felt like a period would suffice. But 18 weeks deserves an exclamation point!)

2. Say thank you.

Few things are as easy, appropriate, and beneficial as saying thank you. 
It blesses people to be thanked. It temporarily lowers your social status relative to another person, but in a healthy way. “I received something I needed from you and I’m grateful.” I think it may even boost your sense of gratitude and happiness. One way to count your blessings is to thank those who brought them into your life. 
Around 100 people support my work financially most months. I’m going to give each of them a personal thank you before another edition of Practical Mobilization hits your inbox.
Got anyone you could thank? Maybe…
  • Thank you for the impact and influence you’ve had on my life.
  • Thank you for your years of hard work that accomplished worthwhile stuff for the kingdom of God.
  • Thank you for looking me in the face and saying you accept me. Jesus was speaking through you then.
By the way, thank you for reading Missions Catalyst. I honestly and deeply appreciate it. 

3. Restart the church missions emphasis.

If your church is getting back together in person, maybe this fall would be a good time to grab some weeks to emphasize a big God’s purposes for a big world. Here’s what I’m thinking:
  • Ask for three Sundays, but settle for two.
  • Book a speaker. As gifted as your pastor and others at your church are, there’s something powerful about an outside person talking about things like reaching the unreached. Pro tip: Many speakers have not been speaking much due to COVID. You may want to tell them they have less time than they do, in anticipation of enthusiastic overrun!
  • Design and order a cool, tangible item to give everyone that will connect people to your ongoing mission efforts and remind them to pray. I’m thinking of a stress ball globe with something printed on it that I haven’t come up with yet. You could also go with a bookmark, fridge magnet, or a pen. All solid options. I’d advise against scented putty. Too many ways that’s going to go bad! 
I can guess what you’re thinking: “Hey, if we buy a little doodad for everyone, we won’t have money for the speaker’s honorarium!” Wanna hear a little secret? Having been grounded by COVID, many missions speakers are chomping at the bit so much they’ll speak for free. (On second thought, that might only apply to me!)
Finding a good theme is an early challenge for a missions emphasis time. You want something that builds curiosity and inspires interest and involvement. And it needs to go hand in hand with the giveaway. 
To spark your creativity and entice your involvement, I’m awarding a $25 Amazon card to the person who posts the best theme/giveaway combo for a fall 2021 church missions emphasis. 
Share your best stuff here.

4. Renew a commitment to pray for the world.

You’re probably a better pray-er than me. I lean heavily (inappropriately) toward taking action on my own, rather than praying for God to take action. It’s tough enough to pray for things present right in our own lives. When we toss the net out to include the whole wide world, people we don’t know, places we’ll never visit, it’s a wonder any of us pray for the nations! 
But you don’t have to be very analytical to wonder when, at current rates we’re going to accomplish what God has in mind in terms of gathering his harvest. There’s so much to do, time is of the essence, and it seems like so few are about this work.
So, I’m encouraged to pray. More and better. And invite others to join me. 
A small step any of us—heck, all of us—could take is to set a recurring alarm on our phone at 10.02 am, and when it buzzes take a moment to pray Luke 10.2 as Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
I’m committing to the near-daily journaling of a brief prayer for the nations. I’m also going to invite our elder team to do the Luke 10.2 prayer!
If you have prayer advice for me, I’d love to hear it. Shoot me an email. Maybe you can help spark content for a future Practical Mobilization article.
Grace to you as you both pray and take the action God invites you to take.

See you in August with more summer short shot ideas. 

About Shane Bennett

Monthly Practical Mobilization articles are written by Shane Bennett. Shane helps normal Christians connect with Muslims in the US, Sicily, and beyond. He works for a cool, new organization called Healing Nations, speaks at Perspectives classes and churches, and writes a super-short weekly email that helps people think about Muslims the way God does and love them like Jesus does. Check it out or sign up.

Contact Shane.

About Missions Catalyst

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Missions Catalyst was founded in 1996. Since 2007 it has been a ministry of Pioneers.

Use Missions Catalyst to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

Our mailing address is:

Missions Catalyst
c/o Marti Wade
10123 William Carey Drive
Orlando, FL 32832

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