Our Heavenly Father not only hears the cries of his children, but delights in rescuing them even if he has to move heaven and earth to do so. In fact, our God is even more effective than the great Liam Neeson in his rescuing! So why would we not cry out to God incessantly? In the Gospel of Luke we find Jesus addressing this matter in the telling of two parables. In Luke 11:5-13, Jesus describes someone relentlessly knocking at the door of his friend’s house in the middle of the night, searching for bread to feed his guest. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus describes a widow who continually makes her cry known to an unjust judge. In both cases, their cries were heard and their prayers were answered. Jesus told these parables to teach us to pray without ceasing and to not lose heart.
“And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:7-8
Throughout Luke, there are many stories of people throwing themselves in Jesus’ path and crying out to him for help. He heard them every time and he was more than willing to meet their need, but meeting their needs was never the end of the story. Those who received rescue or witnessed the rescue would respond by praising God for such mercy and crying out to Jesus for their own rescue. The answer to one cry extended to others who heard the praises.
Jesus prayed that all people would see the way to peace; that they would not be blind to their need of rescue. Those apart from Christ are spiritually blind to their need to be rescued from sin. Therefore, I want to encourage us at Harvest to prioritize constantly crying out for the lost. We are crying out to Christ, that the lost would be reconciled to God.
Most of our crying out to God is probably focused on ourselves and our own needs.While God does care about our circumstances and needs, what might happen if we center our prayers on the salvation of the lost? Perhaps we would begin to see our neighbors and coworkers brought from death to life, our cities and states brought out of the darkness and into the light, and the nations revived by the Spirit and Word of God, through the finished work of the Son of God. That God would redeem the nations is the cry of the Bible.
Here is one example of how you can prioritize time on praying for the lost: the 3 N’s
- Pray for the Nations – Pick specific people groups, missionaries, and church plants that you may never personally encounter.
- Pray for your Neigbors – Think about the people that you interact with on a daily or weekly basis. Maybe this is the girl at the checkout counter at Food Lion. Maybe its the guy in the cubicle next to yours.
- Pray for your Needs – What prayer requests do you and your friends have?
Consider keeping a prayer journal, where you can keep track of these prayer requests to continue to petition God for his will to be done. Over time, you can flip back through and see all of the cries God heard and responded to according to His perfect plan.
Take some time this week to practice the discipline of prayer.
Grace and peace,