Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Wrong Prayer Is Always Unsanswered

For years I've been praying a silly prayer. This thought just occurred as I offered 5,000 unreached people to a young man who says he is called to the ministry.

He is looking for what he's supposed to do with his life, and people are asking him to go to their exotic locations and serve. So, I threw my hat into the ring. There are between 5,000 and 7,000 unreached young adults who live within about 20 minutes of our church. That may sound like a small number if you're from anywhere but the rural south, but when it's about 1/4 of the population of your area it's a big number.

That brings me to my silly prayer. I'll throw down with anyone who thinks they don't need a local church, but for years I've prayed each Saturday night that God would send people on Sunday to worship. I prayed for attendance. I knew it was a bit self-serving, but I know that people who aren't faithful to a local church are not faithfully following Christ.

Look, it's not a bad prayer. It's just the wrong one. Jesus never prayed for attendance. When he saw the lostness of the world around him he told his disciples to pray for God to send laborers who would go out into the harvest.

The church does not survive or thrive on attendance. It survives and thrives on mission, and mission isn't what we do when we get on a plane. Mission is what we do when we get out of bed. By the way, I have prayed right on Saturday nights. It is a regulary prayer I believe is right, and completely un-silly, "God, send us one person tomorrow who we can help know you, and send one more who help us make you known."