Prayer and Mission

You won't have much mission apart from prayer.

He should be constant in prayer, never forgetting his canonical hours. Let him give his mind to his prayer with humility and with great peace.

  - The Rule of Ailbe
, Irish, 7th century[1]

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  - 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

What’s the state of your Personal Mission Field? Are you sowing good Kingdom seed throughout? Keeping the weeds and other invaders in check? Are you cultivating new growth for the Lord? Nurturing fruit-bearing followers of Jesus?

This is why God sent Jesus to the world, and it’s why Jesus sends us (Jn. 20.21).

Prayer is the starting point and most powerful resource for working your Personal Mission Field. Indeed, apart from prayer, it is unlikely you will make much progress in your calling to bring the Kingdom of God to your spheres of influence. The monks who took the Gospel to Ireland, Scotland, England, and the continent understood that prayer must be the foundation for everything they did. They gave themselves to prayer, and God gave them power to “save civilization” (Thomas Cahill).

No wonder it “is the will of God in Christ Jesus” for you and me to pray without ceasing.

Ailbe and Paul indicate three ways we may practice prayer without ceasing, First, we can make thanksgiving our first response to every situation. To give thanks to God in all things is simply to recognize His many good gifts, acknowledge His sovereign oversight and care, or, in the face of adversity, declare our confidence in His ability to bring good out of even the most untoward situations. Thanksgiving is not only an easy way to bring more prayer into your day, it also exercises your soul heaven-ward, and creates greater reliance on the Lord.

Would it make a difference if you began each day giving thanks to God for the people you will see that day? And what if you thanked Him for them before seeing them, and after leaving their presence? Giving thanks keeps people on our minds, helps us grow in love for them, fixes them as priorites in our lives, and guides us in being witnesses for Christ when we are with them. When we are in prayer, we tap into the presence of Christ so that His power can flow more readily to and through us, to help us in working our Personal Mission Fields.

Second, we may set aside times for prayer throughout the day. Celtic Christian monks, like the apostles and many believers who preceded them, observed the canonical hours. Seven times a day they retreated into seasons of prayer, waiting on the Lord and being renewed in the Spirit. Friends who have tried keeping appointments with God for prayer three, five, or seven times a day, testify of the refreshing value and power of these brief retreats into the Lord at regular intervals. You might try using those set times of prayer for specific requests from people in your Personal Mission Field.

It should be easy to see how keeping hours of prayer will help increase constancy in your prayer life. Like a child traversing monkey bars, these intervals of prayer can create momentum toward the goal of a day well-started, regularly renewed, and well-ended through prayer.

Third, tap into the joy of your salvation and celebrate the joy of the Lord in prayer. Joy is the deep current of the Christian life, like the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean. On the surface, the waters may be turbulent, cold, and foreboding. However, deep below the surface, a stream of warm, life-bringing water circulates the breadth and width of the Atlantic, an abiding and refreshing flow. So too is the joy we may tap into as believers.

Jesus looked to the joy of the Lord that awaited Him beyond the cross (Heb. 12.1). He fixed His mind on that constant promise and possession, and this enabled Him to endure the cross and despise the shame of the crucifixion. Similarly, we can tap into the joy of Christ and His Kingdom, knowing what we have in Him, what lies before us in the world to come, and that He will never fail us nor forsake us.

Prayer, singing, and meditating in joy will encourage us to spend more time in prayer – for the sheer joy of it.

What might we be able to accomplish, and what fruit might we bear in the work of our Personal Mission Field, if we took Paul and Ailbe seriously, and devoted ourselves to prayer without ceasing?

Without the Lord, we can do nothing; but with Him, through prayer, all things are possible. Today would be a good day to begin taking up the challenge to pray without ceasing. If we are faithful in seeking to master this discipline, we will know more of the power and presence of God, and will find ourselves more consistently within the will of God in all things.

For reflection
1. Why is prayer so necessary for working your Personal Mission Field?

2. What will you do to bring more prayer into your walk with and work for the Lord?

Psalm 34.1, 2 (Alleluia [Lowe]: Mighty God, While Angels Bless You)
I will bless the Lord at all times; I shall praise Him evermore!
My soul makes its boast in Jesus – Him we gladly all adore!
  Magnify the Name of Jesus! Let us lift His Name in praise!

Lord, give me joy in Your presence, and help me to spend more time in prayer, so that I…

Get Ready for Mission!
Our Mission Partners Outreach may be just what you need to begin working your Personal Mission Field. Watch this brief video. Then download the informational brochure, share it with a friend, and sign up together for this six-month, stay-at-home adventure in mission. You’ll learn how to identify your Personal Mission Field, and together you’ll gain the perspective and skills to work your Personal Mission Field every day of your life.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Susie and I give thanks for you each day, but especially this time of the year, our hearts overflow with gratitude for your friendship, support, and collaboration in this work. God supplies our needs as we look to Him day by day, and He may be pleased to do so, at least in part, through you. Please seek Him in prayer concerning this matter. You can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore
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All psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Ó Maidín, p. 21.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore