Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why We Pray

One of the common themes we are running across in our time here, whether we are talking to missionaries or to local believers, is that this is a very difficult place for the gospel to advance. People are very unresponsive to the message of Jesus. While this issue prevails across much of modern Europe, Sarajevo is the first city with which I have had personal connection. I would like to share with you what I am sensing from God concerning this city.

From my perspective, the issue in this city is NOT a lack of missionaries. As I have said elsewhere, we've met as many missionaries as believers. There are Christ-followers on the University campus, Christ-followers working in the city, Christ-followers working with the poor. All report the same experience: little to no response. The issue in this city is NOT a lack of a clear message. The pastors here are passionate preachers of God's word, and they handle Scripture accurately and in ways accessible to anyone. The issue in this city is NOT a lack of passion. The believers here are crying out for their city. They want to see God change this city with the love of Christ. The worship is powerful. And these passionate people are making repeated, creative attempts to reach people. Yet the result is the same: little to no response.

From my perspective, the issue in this city is almost entirely spiritual. For whatever reason, Darkness has a grip on this city and for whatever reason the Light has not YET penetrated. And I know of only one way to enter into a spiritual battle: PRAYER. We could easily give more money, send more people, or offer more ideas and encouragement. But none of these are lacking. What is lacking is a true move of God's Spirit in the hearts and minds of the Bosnian people.

So, may I plead with you? Become a prayer warrior for Bosnia. If you give money, give as much prayer. Our money is needed, but until the spiritual battle is won, it will continue to have little return on our investment. How can you pray?
1)Pray that spiritual darkness and oppression in this city will lift.
2)Pray that the enemy will have no power to hold people in bondage and oppression.
3)Pray that hearts and eyes would be opened to the love of Jesus.
4)Pray that God would miraculously and supernaturally be revealing Himself.
5)Pray for spiritual breakthrough.
6)Pray that God would empower and strengthen His people here.
And finally...
7)Pray that the LIGHT of CHRIST would shine in this city and that God would win the victory!

May God convince each one of us deeply that prayer is not the prelude to the work, but that prayer in and of itself is the work we have been called to do.



Anonymous said...

willie and heide

Anonymous said...

I agree with you completely, Nick. I can only imagine how difficult it is for citizens of Bosnia to respond to the message of Christ without having a big dose of fear set in. After all, they watched as their city and country were torn apart by a long and ruthless religious war - so why would they want to stick their necks out to listen to Christ's message? I suspect most people there are afraid to respond.

The early conversions will be slow and difficult. The first people to listen are going to be the key to getting their friends to listen. Time and prayer is what it will take. And, not just prayer for the people of Sarajevo - prayer for the Byrums and all the other Christians who are working so hard to reach out to the people. I pray that nobody gets discouraged, but also that everyone has the patience to allow this process to work without any unreasonable expectations.


Anonymous said...

I was reading my way down through the posts, so I responded to today’s (Thursday’s) entry before I got to Tuesday, so I had already responded to your request for prayer for the 4 girls and the kids and their parents. I’m glad I kept reading!!, and I’m so glad we have computers, and all the tools we get with them. I’ve printed this post and added it to my prayer journal, and will be praying with you for these specific ways we can “go to war”. Thank you for inviting us to share in the battle in such a clear and inspiring way.

Faith is the victory that overcomes the world!!

Mary Hagle

Anonymous said...

I love your detailed description of the need for prayer in this city. Prayer is the most important. You and the Bosnian People have the prayers of this household. Keep fighting the Good Fight. Caleb's Aunt Sherry