Daily posts to help you connect with God
and keep yourself travelling in the right orbit
ORBIT | WEEK NINE
ORBIT – DAY FORTY THREE
Welcome to another Orbit – a way to spend a few minutes each day with God. Each weekday we’ll look at a short passage from the Bible, have an opportunity to pray and reflect, and then be challenged with one practical way of responding to God’s word. We really hope these will be helpful – if you miss one, don’t worry, you can either catch up… or just miss one!
BIBLE READING – Romans 15: 30-32
After yesterday’s slightly surprising reading, today we still find Paul writing specifics to the church in Rome about his missionary journeys. But again, there’s a point for us to take on board:
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favourably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
When we think of missionaries today, we perhaps struggle to find a modern reference point. We might either think of Paul, carting himself across Europe and Asia in the first century A.D., or we might think of old-fashioned colonial missionaries, clothed in white and taking the gospel somewhat politically-incorrectly into deepest Africa.
In fact, missionaries still exist today and in large numbers. In 2017, it was estimated that there were 430,000 full-time Christian missionaries serving in another country. They work to bring the good news of Jesus to parts of the world that are either materially or spiritually poor, and they usually do so at great sacrifice to themselves. They may have left all their family and friends behind to become missionaries, or be taking great risks by working in a country that is hostile to Christian faith.
They do it because they are answering God’s call. They believe that the Christian message is so important – so incredible – that they are willing to give up everything to make sure that other people hear it too.
It can be hard for us to even imagine that such people exist. In a selfish, individualistic culture, it’s so counter-intuitive to behave like this, that being a missionary almost makes no sense. What they do certainly isn’t easy, and it’s fraught with danger and difficulties, but these members of the Christian family are real, and incredibly precious.
And in a way, they are directly following the example of Paul, as illustrated in today’s short reading. Paul was in danger in lots of ways: taking a forbidden message around the Roman empire, carrying money between churches for which he could easily be robbed and killed, and then walking into temples and even churches which disagreed with him and were hostile towards him. So what does he ask for?
Simply for prayer. “Join me in my struggle,” he says “by praying to God for me.” This is what Paul so desperately needs, because he knows full well the power of prayer. Prayer not only accesses the divine power of God, but it also brings the church together in unity through the Holy Spirit. And so when we think about how we can support the incredible 430,000 full-time Christian missionaries today, the first thing that we can do is to join in their struggle, by praying to God for them. We can also support them financially, and even listen to God to see if in some way – even just in the short term – he’s calling us to physically one day join them. But ask any missionary what they need, and the first answer will be the same: more prayer.
Perhaps it is not too much of a stretch even to say that the fact that we overlook and forget the very existence of missionaries is itself a work of the enemy. He doesn’t want us to remember them, nor to pray for them, because they are at the very front-line of God’s emerging Kingdom. But they are our family, and they need our prayers today – and always.
You might want to join me in praying this prayer.
Lord I thank you for those amazing people, all around the world, who have heard your call to be missionaries. I pray that you would keep them safe, and give them everything they need to be sustained in their work. Through them, and through their sacrifice and submission to you, would you bring transformation and your kingdom to parts of the world even that have never heard your good news. Amen.
There’s now a chance for you to pray, or listen to God, or simply be still for a few moments.
Each day we will provide you with a simple challenge; something to do which helps you put this little thought into action. Here’s today’s challenge:
Your job today is to do a bit of research. Using nothing more than your favourite search engine, find out about what mission agencies are up to around the world by looking at the websites of charities such as Operation Mobilisation, Mercy Ships, Africa Inland mission and YWAM. Perhaps look at any of their recent prayer points, or find out about other ways that you can get involved. Open your eyes to the world of mission today.
If you want to get in touch, you can always email email@example.com, or message us on Instagram – we’re @stmarys_satellites. Let us know what you think of this daily reflection – please – we’d love your feedback.