Monday, 11 June 2012

Swinging the Lead: Towards a New Awakening—Marks of Mission Prayer—By the Mark, One!

I've been enjoying CS Forrester's Hornblower series for the fourth time, I think. Whenever Hornblower brought his ship close to shore he needed to know how much water he had under the keel so he would station a leadsman in the chains of a ship, up against the shrouds, as you see in the illustration. The leadsman would swing a lead line, a length of thin rope with a plummet, generally of lead, at its end. When the plummet hit the bottom, measuring by a series of marks on the line, the leadsman would call the depth out saying, "By the mark, five!" or whatever the line showed. 

The Marks of Mission are just as important as navigational tools for us. Carrying them out shows us that we’re still afloat and on course. Without them we’re at risk of running aground, unable to reach our destination.

Praying the Marks of Mission Mark by Mark: By the Mark, One!

To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God
…which is Jesus, of course. 

Here’s the challenge.  Paul says “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor 4:4). He’s right. People are literally unable to hear the good news. Sadly, our acrimonious behaviour in the church, between denominations and factions has helped the god of this world keep many from seeing the good light of that gospel. 

What to do? 

Pray for two things: 

1. Jesus says no one can come to him unless the Father draws them (John 6:44). So, ask the Father to draw them. Pray that he will open our minds and the minds of the people around us in our communities and across the land so we shall all see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ in another Great Awakening. 

2. This is what Jesus did for the deaf man with the speech impediment in Mark, chapter 7: 
…looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
Following Jesus' example, pray deep and from the heart with the Spirit's "sighs too deep for words" (Ro 8:28).  Pray Ephphatha over ourselves and our church so that when the Father draws people to us, our ears, too, will be opened so we can hear his Word for them and what their needs are. Pray Ephphatha so that our tongues, too, are released to speak plainly of Jesus, of what he has done for us and what he can do for them. 

Swinging the Lead

Prayer is often hard work. Swinging the lead could be hard work, too, the plummets Hornblower's leadsmen swung sometimes weighed as much as fifty six pounds, but it was always worth the effort because it helped them, by those marks, to know where they were. 

It's worth the effort for us, too. The Marks of Mission will show us how deep we are.