Treasured Prayers

I just returned home from a weeklong mission trip to northern Mexico. It’s the first time since 2019 that we’ve been able to do this. Borderless Mexico Mission is a collaboration of Lutheran Brethren Churches. The group travels to Mezquital, Mexico, ministering to sister churches in nearby farming communities.

When we first began the partnership, we adopted Mezquital’s neighboring community of Janitzio with the intent to plant a new congregation there. Janitzio locals currently drive over to Mezquital for worship. Their prayer is that someday they will have a pastor who will set roots in their community and lead the church plant there.

One of my favorite things to do when we’re there is to pray with the Janitzio locals. We always spend a few hours sharing requests and praying together, even if it’s in different languages. On this visit, I was struck with the content of each person’s request. Every single prayer was for a family member, friend, or local in the community—for unsaved people. There were no requests for their own personal needs; no health requests; no prayer for safety; no wish for comfort.

That experience reminded me of my friend Lucas…

When we began ministry here in Parker, Colorado, one of the first couples we connected with were Lucas and Amanda. My wife Savanna coached volleyball with Amanda, which made a natural connection for relationship. In the five years since, we’ve spent a lot of time together sharing meals and enjoying having kids the same age. They have become our closest friends.

When the relationship first began, Lucas was a new Christian and recovering addict looking for safe people to be with. As we grew in friendship, our conversation moved toward his burden for unsaved friends… especially his friend Aaron. Lucas has a group of friends with whom he’s been close since his youth. The biggest issue was that many of them were still struggling in their drug and alcohol addictions, and didn’t have time for Lucas’ newfound faith.

We spent many nights praying for Aaron, and talking about how Lucas could continue to speak truth into his life. While Aaron would listen, it seemed that the addiction cycle kept him at arm’s length from the freedom he desperately needed. Nevertheless, Lucas continued to live in his newfound grace, boldly proclaiming freedom through Jesus’ death and resurrection, and praying for Aaron’s salvation. Our prayer together wasn’t about comfort, or our needs. It was for Aaron’s greatest need.

We were with Lucas and Amanda again recently, but this time the conversation was different. Lucas was excited to share that something was different about Aaron. He had come to Lucas and expressed he was ready to change his life. While it wasn’t a proclamation of faith, it was the first step toward coming to grips with his addiction, and finding a new trajectory in life.

After Jesus’ teaching on prayer and fasting in Matthew 6, he then discusses what we value the most: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (6:19-21).

As I listened to our friends in Janitzio pray, and as I heard Lucas share about Aaron’s growth, I was reminded that our prayer life is a good indication of what we treasure. How much of our prayer life is for those who are spiritually lost? I must admit, my prayers are far too often only about me. My treasure is in my self-centeredness and need for comfort and ease. These selfish needs are treasures on earth. But the greatest heavenly treasure, that the thief cannot take away, is Jesus himself, who died and rose again for the salvation of lost souls.

We get to pray for the lost around us. Who is that in your life? Who needs the treasure of Jesus? Pray for them, treasure them. Jesus treasured people. We get to do likewise. And as you do, watch the Holy Spirit work!

Rev. Jason Rogness is the church planting pastor of New Hope Church in Parker, Colorado.

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