One of the primary buzzwords in ministry today is the word mission. This word is often used to challenge people to see themselves and the churches they are part of as being focused on the advance of the gospel for the glory of Jesus.  In this sense, I like the word and think we should all do a better job to be missional in every aspect of our lives.

However, when we think about how the concept of mission is normally applied, it seems to me that the concept of mission has been applied to almost everything except prayer.

This is unfortunate for two reasons. First, we are never more engaged in mission than when we pray for the people that God has placed in our circle of influence. Second, prayer is better understood through the lens of the gospel than through any other means.

In Colossians 4:2-6, Paul provides the church with an understanding of what mission is all about. And in verse 2, he begins by exhorting the believers to “continue steadfastly in prayer.”  Paul understands prayer to be the power behind all true mission

And if we recognize that our lives and ministries are here to help fulfill God’s stated mission to redeem for himself a people in Jesus Christ - to make them like Christ - then every aspect of prayer will be instantly brought into crystal clear focus.

Our praise to him will begin to be centered on his faithfulness in making people like Jesus. Whether that’s through the initial act of salvation, or whether it’s through the ongoing process of sanctification, we can praise him for his power, love, and mercy as it is shown both to us and to those we serve.

Our confession will no be longer based on the misguided feelings that, somehow, we still have to curry God’s favor by doing the penance of confession. Rather, we will begin to recognize that his forgiveness of us is complete in Christ.

Our thanksgiving is changed because it’s no longer centered on just the blessings we happen to notice and appreciate. Rather, we will begin thanking God for all the circumstances of life that give us the opportunity to fulfill his mission in ways we had never imagined or planned on.

And it changes our requests because we will no longer approach God selfishly seeking personal benefits. Rather, we will come to him asking him for help in the mission.

When we begin to see prayer through the lens of mission - from the standpoint of the gospel and God’s purpose with it in this world - then all of our prayers will becomemission-focused prayers.