By Cynthia Lim
I stood at the chapel. It was the last one for the year. All the students were singing with a heart of gratitude to God for having seen them through the whole academic year. A thought came into my mind, “I have made it through my ‘Theology’ exam...how did I do it?” A voice gently whispered in my head, “Prayers of the saints.” I knew without a shadow of doubt that my first year at the Bible College of New Zealand would not be easy without the prayer support of friends back home. God has shown His grace through the earnest and unceasing prayers of friends and loved ones. It was their prayers that helped me through the most difficult period of adjustment in a new environment as well as in the new task I was assuming.
The apostle Paul himself has never failed to request for prayers from the believers for his ministry. When he was preaching the gospel in a place where he foresaw some resistance and danger, he would not hesitate to ask the church, when he wrote to them, to pray for his safety and “deliverance” from unbelievers or wicked men (Rom 15:31; 2 Thess 3:2). He would also urge them to pray for the gospel to be spread rapidly and for opportunity for the message to be proclaimed (Cor 4:3; 2 Thess 3:1). Paul was aware that while he ministered the gospel of Jesus Christ, he needed boldness to proclaim the gospel – that he might do so with a clear conscience and that the message might be demonstrated through his own life (Eph 6:19-20; Heb 13:18-19). Therefore, Paul never felt embarrassed to ask the church to “Pray for us” (1 Thess 5:25).
Last summer when I was back in Singapore, it was good to meet up with several of our missionaries who were home for various reasons. In our brief encounters, we all testified to how God has brought us through our respective circumstances because of the prayers of the saints back home and elsewhere. We know well in our hearts that it would be impossible to fight the battle at the forefront without any reinforcement from behind. For many of the missionaries or missionaries in training who are overseas, the degree of vulnerability we feel is greatly intensified since we are place in a situation where all our loved ones and regular support systems are not readily available. It is even more difficult for trying to “fight the battle.” Hence, your prayers are the most crucial weapon.
Paul in Ephesians 6:12 reminded us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.
Therefore, we need to put on the full armour of God, and that includes your prayers for us!
Adapted from the “Missions Conference ‘94” booklet, a 1994 BCC production.