This is an article from the January-February 1991 issue: The State of the World

Closure: FINISH!

Closure: FINISH!

Christ's life was dominated by a passion to finish. Early in His ministry He said, "My meat (that which sustains me) is to do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work."

In a major teaching on discipleship (Luke 14:28-30) three times Christ said, "finish, finish, finish." At the end of His life He said, "I have finished the work Thou gavest me to do."

The most exciting idea since Christ was here is "closure" --finishing the one task He gave His church to do, to go into all the world to disciple all the nations.

When Christ sent out disciples--first the twelve and almost two years later the seventy--He said exactly the same thing. "The harvest is plenteous, the laborers are few--pray ye therefore." He tells us exactly the same today. The church faces only two problems today: great harvest, few laborers. There is only one solution: Pray.

He did not tell us to become organized. He did not tell us to conduct missions conventions. He did not tell us to raise money for world missions. All of these are important and should be done, but they are all secondary. We have not "given ourselves continually to prayer." This was the key to effective ministry clearly stated by the New Testament apostles.

I hereby challenge the reader to give God a "life-tithe" of two and a half hours a day in prayer for world evangelism, particularly focusing on the challenge of closure.

Pray exactly as Christ taught in Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest." Christ clearly said, "If you'll pray - I'll send out the harvesters." People who are "prayed out" and supported with constant, continuing prayer are mighty effective harvesters.

Southern Baptist Convention president Dr. Robert Lee once said, "If you educate you get what education can do. And that's good. If you organize, you get what organization can do. And that's good. When you pray you get what God can do. And that's best."

We have planned, organized, educated and raised hundreds of millions of dollars, but we have not prayed enough. Proof positive is the fact that there is a shortage of harvesters in more than 200 countries.

Why are there 12,000 unreached people groups? Why are there so few missionaries in Muslim nations? Only one real reason: we have not prayed harvesters into those vast harvest fields.

Closure is always linked to discipleship. Christ said, "Unless you forsake all, you cannot be my disciple."

If you are to develop a meaningful, daily prayer life, it will require simple obedience to Christ's challenge to forsake certain time-consuming things.

The average person in the USA watches TV more than six hours every day. This is a good beginning point for "forsaking." The joyous fact is that what you forsake does not begin to be as meaningful as what you gain. You gain the joy of being with the Father! You become intimate with the Lord of the harvest. Your life takes on a glorious purpose.

Recently 300 leaders met to plan cooperation and strategy for world evangelism. They all agreed on this statement:

"We believe it is possible to bring the Gospel to all people by the year 2000. This can be accomplished with sufficient dedication, unity and mobilization of available resources, powered and directed of God:" They should have added, "If enough people pray enough."

We don't want to waste space in this magazine and just talk about prayer. We must be involved daily in believing prayer for world evangelism.

A Prayer Commitment

Prayer is a two-way experience. The first part is allowing God to talk to you from His Word. All meaningful prayer flows out of Scripture. The second part is praise and petition.

A commitment to daily prayer is not like a Bible vow, it is a prayer goal. If someday you do not make your goal, you must never allow Satan to put guilt on you. Remember prayer is a "love relationship." There will be no guilt laid on you by Christ --only love and understanding. Never listen to Satan when it comes to your prayer time.

Pray for your pastor, church, friends, and missionaries. Make a prayer commitment for six months. Then each half year renew your prayer ministry commitment.

Be involved in daily prayer on one of three levels:

TITHE YOUR LIFE. Your motivation must be one of love for Christ. Don't think of doing this because of "duty." You will fail. Only His love for you and yours for Him will be strong enough motivation to defeat Satan's daily efforts to thwart your prayer ministry.

ONE-HOUR WATCHER. Christ asks every disciple, "Could you not watch with me one hour?" He asks you to join Him for a "holy hour." He is praying now. "He ever liveth to make intercession." You'll bring Him joy if you join Him.

HALF-HOUR DAILY. Every day God gives you 48 half-hours. Will you give Him one? Napoleon said, "Every battle in history was won or lost in a strategic 15-minute period. We lost the battle of Waterloo because after 60 hours of fighting I fell asleep during that strategic 15 minutes." We believe it is the same with every soul; there is a strategic 15-minute period when they make a decision to accept or reject Christ. Your prayers are crucial.

Recently a Christian leader from Kampala, Uganda. told of his great enthusiasm for Campus Crusade's strategy called New Life 2000 but he added, "This New Life 2000 strategy is impotent without a systematic global prayer strategy." He's right!

Christ said, "My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations."

For $8 you can order a World Prayer 2000 edition of the Global Prayer Digest for one year. For $3 a World Prayer Map will help your daily intercession geographically .To order your Map or Digest, or to encourage Jack with your prayer commitment for the next six months, write: World Prayer 2000, Box 92-2020, Sylmar CA 91392 USA.

To link up with others in prayer, contact one of the following prayer ministries:

  • Change the World through Prayer (Every Home Crusade) Dick Eastman, President P.O. Box 7139 Canoga Park CA 91304-7139 USA.
  • Concerts of Prayer David Bryant, Director P.O. Box 36008 Minneapolis MN 55435 USA.
  • Intercessors for America, Gary Bergel, Director P.O. Box 2639 Reston VA 22090 USA
  • Strategic Prayer Fellowships for Russia (Slavic Gospel Assn.) Box 1122 Wheaton IL 60189 USA.


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