We all have them. Or at least all the missionaries I’ve spoken to have. Those days when you just run out of juice. No get up and go. No get up or go. Nothing. Nadda. Zilch. The in-box is full, but the fuel-tank is empty.
Today has been one of those days for me.
I have loads of stuff I need to do, and I’ve done bits and drabs, but nothing like as much as I should have done, could have done, if I had the energy. Although it’s often not so much an energy thing, is it? I could happily go and run a half-marathon, I just can’t get this essay started and don’t even mention that pile of paper work. Even the origami cranes I promised to make for my sister’s wedding: those little sheets of A-6(?) paper sit mocking me with their light pastel colours and unrealised potential!
My point? Simply this: sometimes we (and I’m speaking mainly of missionary-type folk here) have energy to do anything, except the stuff we have to do. And I’m becoming increasingly convinced that the response in those times should be one of prayer.
The apostle Paul, who experienced the front-line of missionary work, makes it clear that prayer was a key weapon in the fight against the spiritual forces that seek to slow down and de-rail the spread of the good news of Jesus. (e.g. Ephesians 6:18; Philippians: 4:5-7). Similarly, king David, when he faced difficulties and distractions (such as, you know, his people discussing stoning him to death!) ‘strengthened himself in the LORD his God’ (1 Samuel 30:6). And yes, Jesus Himself prayed whenever He was in need of strength (e.g. Luke 22:41).
So today I have prayed. I have prayed for myself. And I have prayed for missionaries I know. Because missionary work is a spiritual work, which means it’s a spiritual battle. When we’re tired, distracted or discouraged we may need many things – sleep, food, exercise, a hug – but the one thing we always need is prayer.
So will you join me in praying for those in Japan (you can add in other folk you know as well, but I’m all about Japan!) who may be having ‘one of those days’?
Lord God, Heavenly Father, Ruler of the nations,
I stand in wonder of your glory and might. You are infinite in strength and awesome in power. Every breath I take, every ounce of energy and enthusiasm I own, is a gift you have freely given me . So in your grace and kindness I ask for more: for me and for those struggling to make disciples of your Son in Japan. Where there is discouragement and apathy pour out joy and peace. Where there is lethargy and weariness inject energy and power. Lift up heads and strengthen arms, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ and in His most awesome name, amen.