By Tom Atema
I am extremely thankful that I live in a day and age where the Gospel is shining more brightly than ever in the Middle East. And that includes the nation of Lebanon; the freest, most democratic nation in the Middle East. I have been traveling to Lebanon since 2001, and I can tell you that the Holy Spirit is on the move, evidenced by more and more people coming to faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a fact that more Muslims here are leaving Islam and coming to faith in Christ than at any time in the last 14 centuries. Perhaps most encouraging is that today we see an unprecedented openness among the people of Lebanon, both Muslims and nominal Christians.
So, the question must be asked: what accounts for such openness – even such responsiveness among people that historically have been resistant to the Gospel? From my standpoint there are several dynamics at work. As I think about it, I see the power of prayer as the number one reason. God is answering prayers.
I find it fascinating that in just over three years, Jesus taught His disciples many things. Yet, the only thing the disciples ever asked the Messiah was to teach them how to pray! It’s recorded in Luke 11:1, we see the disciples’ plea, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
1 John 5:14 says “And this is the confidence that we have towards Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Maybe the first thing we need to learn or relearn is to have confidence in Jesus Christ, especially in these days. The Apostle Paul had confidence; and because of this confidence we have a road map on what we ask of our Prayer Partners.
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. – Ephesians 6:18-20
Here is what I know because I have seen it in my own life repeatedly; intercessory prayer is pivotal and essential for our personal lives and for ministry. We cannot exist without it.
Paul is asking for people to pray at a much higher level than most of us pray; he is asking us to pray high-level prayers. (Pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.)
Paul is asking for some very specific things; he is asking for the wisdom to know when to speak and when he speaks that he have boldness. This is what I/we must do as an ambassador of Jesus Christ.
Luke, in chapter 22, puts it this way; “…where prayer prevails power fails”.
High level praying has a direct effect on our personal lives and on our ministry at Heart for Lebanon.
Look at Eph. 6:18 – 20
- “With all prayer and petition” – all kinds of prayer is needed.
- “Pray at all times” – prayer on all occasions as God brings Heart for Lebanon to your mind.
- “Pray in the spirit” – in communion with and directed by power of the Holy Spirit.
“be on the alert” – be vigilant, passionate, stay informed of what is going on in Lebanon.
“with all perseverance” – enduring, not giving up.
- “For all the saints” – that God’s messengers at Heart for Lebanon will be bold, they will have wisdom, they will under pressure persevere.
- “Utterance may be given” – God’s message will be clear.
These verses outline what it means to be a Prayer Partner with Heart for Lebanon. While I am most grateful for the Prayer Partners that consistently add the fuel and the power to our ministry, we really need 1,000 more partners to pray with us. It’s the missing ingredient. Scripture indicates that individual and corporate prayer that is consistent, intense, and strategic will in fact “deliver us from the evil one and give the power to those in ministry.”
Prayer was the key to the expansion of the church down through the corridors of time and it’s what will expand Heart for Lebanon’s ministry.
Will you become a Prayer Partner? We really could use you to pray high-level prayers as we finish out 2023 and launch into 2024.