Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved.
What is the longing of your heart, what are you broken and burdened over? For Paul the longing of his heart was the salvation of his kinsmen, he was burdened for the unsaved. So what did he do about it, he shared his heart with his Father in prayer. Where do the unsaved rank in your heart, are you burdened for the salvation of others or bothered? Many of us hear the word witnessing and we slip into guilt mode because we know we should be doing more and we are not. But Paul teaches us a foundational truth about witnessing, it doesn’t start with doing or our outside actions, it starts in the heart. Caring is the connecting point, what we yearn for we tend to live for. When it comes to praying for the salvation of others the book of James teaches us many truths:
- Praying with Faith and Faithfulness
Faith always focuses on the Father and Paul’s faith directed him toward the Father in prayerful petition.
James :6-7 “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
The first question is a faith question: “Do I trust God’s Ability, His Affection and His Awareness and His Answer?” The second question is a faithful one: “Am I committed to pray or do I give up?” Paul was consistant, he was faithful in prayer, Colossians 1:3 “We always pray for you”; 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”
Is it time to prepare your heart and practice a habit of prayer?
- Praying with Fervency
James 5:16 “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
This has to do with intensity and zeal, which are driven by the longing of our heart. When I think of fervent prayer I picture Jesus in the garden sweating blood before the Father. The longing of His heart was faithful obedience and it fueled His intensity in prayer, the disciples longed for fleshly fulfillment and that fueled their slumber. Often our intensity in prayer is like that of the disciples, sleeping on the job; instead we are to Watch in Prayer, Wait in Prayer and Work in Prayer.
Colossians 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
What motivates you Faith or Flesh?
- Praying with Focus
James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
The focus of witnessing is “for the people” in other words it’s not about us and how we will feel it’s about others. So much of our prayer lives revolves around us and until the focus shifts and we start to really see others we will keep asking amiss. Because the focus is still on us instead of others when it comes to witnessing the motivation is either fear or a feel good. We fear failure and how we will feel or we seek success through a feel good. Paul saw people not projects, he saw people not problems, salvation is about people but we have turned it into a process and in so doing we have dehumanized the very ones Jesus died for. Praying with focus means praying without selfishness or sloppiness, it means focusing on people not pleasure.
Groaning on our knees in prayer leads to going on our feet in person. Who will you meet today that needs to meet Christ? Will you turn in prayer to the one who can save?
Isaiah 59:1 Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.