Our Father, you are in heaven yet you see and oversee everything on earth. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and the Bahamas to Yemen your common grace this dawn is allowing the light and warmth of the sun to rise on some 1,200 people groups who are still dwelling in spiritual darkness, completely unengaged with the gospel. At present, all of them are ungodly and unrighteous, suppressing the truth and neither honoring you nor thanking you as God. They have eyes, but have never seen your beauty. They have ears, but have never heard of that through Christ they can be saved. They are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, practicers of homosexuality, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers, and right now none of them will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9–10). Their rebellion has made them your enemies and placed them under your wrath (John 3:36). They continue to love darkness more than light (3:19), and only bad news and hopelessness shape their existence. There is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom 3:18). Yet such were some of us. But we were washed, we were sanctified, we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11).
We know of Shiite and Sunni Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and many practicing various cultural religions who have never encountered the Word that alone can save. Generation after generation they move through the cycles from birth to death, from planting to harvesting, from weeping to laughing, from mourning to dancing, from loving to hating, from war to peace––yet in all this, they remain enslaved to the evil one. Yet we know that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom 10:13).
Lord, break our hearts over such blindness and brokenness. Make us ache for those who remain spiritually blind and deaf, for those who are still your enemies. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. So I pray, O Lord of the harvest, you who have let the sun rise on the evil, you who have are still giving breath to your enemies, please send out laborers even from this place into your harvest (Luke 10:2). For how will they call on Jesus in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Rom 10:14). Yet faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17).
You are sending out some of us out as lambs among wolves––wolves that you have told us will deliver us over to unjust rulers in order that we may bear witness to your name. Some will be killed, others persecuted. Some in this room may lose spouses or children for the sake of your message of mercy. Keep us faithful. Keep us trusting. May we not fear those who can only kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, help us fear you who can kill both body and soul in hell. And help us remember how much you value us (Matt 10:28–31). Keep us proclaiming that the reigning God saves and satisfies believing sinners through Christ Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. He alone can save. There is no other name, given among men, by which salvation comes (Acts 4:12).
Engage the unengaged, O Lord, thus filling out the multitude of nations from all the families of the earth counted as the offspring of Abraham. By Christ’s blood he ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation and made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth (Rev 5:9–10). With those already gathered before your throne, we proclaim, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (7:10).
––Jason S. DeRouchie (10/15/2017)