Rev. Nathan Shutes (Director of Administration, RBD Global) is our contributor and he shares the burden of this writing. “This was written after an experience where God placed such a heavy burden on my heart for lost souls. He reminded me of His love for souls that goes beyond our typical feelings of pulling someone out of hell. Jesus called us to be soul winners so that He could fully express His love for His people.”
He continues, “This is not being written to judge, I am just repeating what God has laid on my heart. It was a painful experience that renewed in me a sense of purpose and calling. It’s a calling to minister to the lost on their turf, not just in a church service from a pulpit.”
Luke 10:1-2 (NKJV) “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, ‘The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”
We all have this verse memorized about how we should pray for laborers. Jesus had thousands of people following Him. We know this because he fed the five thousand, so there were people around. Yet in verse one He appointed seventy to go before Him. Jesus knows the issue isn’t the numbers that we surround ourselves with; it’s the fact that most of them are not laborers. Can we be transparent and wonder ourselves if He would have picked us as one of the seventy?
Luke 14:23 (NKJV) “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.’”
Who will leave their pride at home and tell the man begging for money that Jesus died for him too? Who will walk to the highways and the hedges and tell them that Jesus loves them? Who will tell a lost world that He thought of them while on the cross? Will it be you?
We are sometimes so worried about hell that we forget the point isn’t hell; it’s that Jesus loves them. While praying, I received a Word from the Lord that I just couldn’t let go. He said, “Love the lost like I love the lost.” The only thing I could do was put my face into the carpet and repeat that statement over and over again. Love the lost like I love the lost. Above all else that we are called to do, we are called to love the lost. People are dying not knowing that Jesus loves them.
Who will tell a stranger that Jesus loves them? The most quoted Scripture used to be John 3:16, that “God so loved the world.” But now we quote Romans 8:28, that “All things work for my good.” At some point we figured that God was a vending machine for our own personal gain. What can I get out of this relationship? The real question is; where are the soul winners that cry over the lost? When was the last time that we cried over lost strangers? I know we can cry over our family, but when was the last time that a homeless man on the corner begging moved you to tears? When was the last time you stopped your car and said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have…” Who will stand in the gap?
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
My fear is that this generation has missed out on prayers warriors. We have become an instant gratification generation. We tweet in 140 characters and figure prayer can be just as short. Here are some numbers that ought to make you cry. On the Baptist Board website they say the average Christian prays a minute a day and the average pastor prays five minutes a day. God help us that we can’t spend time with Him. No wonder our nation is falling away from God.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (NKJV) “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
God called us to pray without ceasing, not just to pray five minutes a day. I believe all these verses go so nicely together. People who don’t pray also don’t work in the gifts of the spirit. They don’t know how to follow the Spirit, so they quench the Spirit. Then after all that we can’t abstain from evil because we didn’t take Paul’s advice and kill the outward man on a daily basis through prayer.
We need to stand in the gap not just for our families, but our city, our state and our country. I prayed for a while next to a lady in deep intercession a few months ago and it pushed me into intercession. I realized that it had been a long time since I had been there. Too often we rapid fire our way through prayer with no time for a response from God. We just touch the outer reaches of His presence, but fail to make it to the throne room. We don’t get to the place for direction; we don’t even get to the place for a burden. Oh, we feel guilty for not winning more souls, but I’m not talking about guilt, I’m talking about a burden. What is the difference between a burden and guilt? Guilt is when you feel bad for not doing something, but a burden is when you feel so compelled to do something that you can’t sleep until it’s done. We need to cry out for a burden for the lost.
What happened to those God-given burdens that would drive us to our knees for hours? Where are the prayer warriors? Where are the intercessors? Somebody needs to stand in the gap. Someone needs to intercede, someone needs to cry out; “Where are the prayer warriors?!”
Our prayers ought to move heaven and shake the gates of hell. There is power in prayer. We like to quote that the gates of hell can’t stand against the Church, but when was the last time you were there at the gates of hell for a soul? Where are the prayer warriors?
We all talk about who is called to preach and who is called to missions, but your first calling is to tell a lost and dying world that Jesus loves them.
Isaiah 6:6-8 (NKJV) “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.’ Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’”
What will you take away from this? Will you feel guilty; will it remind you of a burden or a calling? I’m not interested in the feelings you have, I’m interested in the action you will take. I challenge you to set aside time to pray daily, and allow it to be a two-way communication. Take a moment every week to help someone less fortunate than you and tell someone that Jesus loves them. Most important, ask God what He has called you to do. I like to tell people that most preachers have never preached, most soul winners have never won a soul and most prayer warriors have never prayed a prayer. How can I say that? Because it’s not about how I see you or how others see me, but it’s about how God sees us. If God can look at dry bones and see an army, He can see your potential as well.
Preacher, go find a place to preach, soul winner, go find a lost soul and prayer warrior go find a place to pray.