My prayer before the plane took off the runway that would ultimately bring me to the other side of the world, “Father, I ask that I would be faithful and obedient to you and that I would be a blessing to others that you will have me meet on this adventure.” The Father sure answered prayers in many wonderful ways. Recently, the Lord called me to join a group who were traveling to East Asia for a Cultural & Language Exchange program.
Much of our time was spent at a specific university. Each day was broken up into three sections. Each morning both the American students and university students would take turns to present on a particular topic from their cultural perspective. Topics varied from American and East Asian sports, to culture and worldview. It was fun for both groups to learn from one another. In the afternoon, the university students did different demonstrations for us. For example, there were demonstrations on ancient style of dress, how to make hairpins out of wood, how to tie-dye clothing, how to do martial arts and many more. Finally, the evenings were spent establishing relationships.
It became challenging and frustrating as the weeks went by. The Lord taught us that before we go about our day, we must be in prayer. How we went about sowing was through prayer. If you want to be a good farmer who sows you must be willing to do the preliminary step that is most important.
Prayer paves the way for effective ministry to occur. It is pressing into God so that we can allow Him to transform our lives, deepening our understanding of our identity, His character, and what His Word says. Through that transformation, He equips us with everything we need to share the gospel well with others. Without prayer, our ability to minister will be ineffective and useless. We learned to pray amid spiritual warfare (Eph. 6), and see that people are not our enemies.
My outlook on ministry and evangelism has dramatically shifted since the trip. As I was studying how the Messiah went about ministry here on earth it occurred to me that it was not about all the fancy words, but it was really about love. “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” These famous words incapsulate the heart of gospel-centered ministry. Prayer is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and others.
Before you can love others well,
you must be able to be loved well
by the one who is love.
Having a willing heart to genuinely pray for someone exemplifies a true godly love. Prayer and love go hand in hand. The two most important commandments we are given from God, “Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord our God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12).
The Messiah perfectly demonstrated what love is by living out these two most important commands well. His love was so authentic and deep for His Father and people. If we want to be like Messiah, we must be willing to mirror Him. Without words we can demonstrate the fruit that is given freely by the Holy Spirit. Love is the fruit that must be far deep in our hearts before we even consider sharing the Good News to others. Before you can love others well, you must be able to be loved well by the one who is love.
Sharing the gospel is not about going up to someone to point out that they are wrong, and you are right; it is about approaching them with God’s perfect love and meeting them where they are at. Since the students were limited due to language barrier, they knew they were loved because of the intentional time we spent building relationships. Through love and how we lived, it sparked curiosity and interest among our new friends. No one came to follow the Messiah on this trip, but the gospel was revealed to them in how we faithfully loved them and planted seeds in them.
Thank you for all your prayers and coming alongside with the finances that aided in making the journey to East Asia possible. Throughout the trip it became more apparent that it was God’s timing for me to embark on this adventure. Many prayers were answered. I look forward to the next assignment the Father has me embark on with Him. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!