Praying for renewal
In his hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished,” Frank Houghton wrote:
“We, who rejoice to know Thee, Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee, To go and make Thee known”
But what kind of renewal are we seeking? The prophet Habakkuk prayed to God with a strong appeal to ask God to bring renewal, “Lord I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them know; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2
Confidence in God’s Sovereignty
First, let us seek renewal in our confidence in God’s sovereignty, “Lord, I have heard of your fame.” Like Habakkuk, we stand in awe of all his deeds.
God has brought his Church into being among many of East Asia’s peoples. As an OMF community of God’s servants, we also stand in awe of what God has done in the past 150 years through the China Inland Mission and OMF today, and many other organizations serving in the region. We acknowledge his sovereign rule and his sovereign timing, his provision, his help and his leading, even in the midst of trials and suffering.
Renewal in our Fear of God
Second, we seek renewal in our fear for Him, “I stand in awe.” We ask for renewal, within the church and among the peoples of the world. We are seeking spiritual breakthrough among the nations that we may all fear him and worship the Lord as Christ’s followers. Like Habakkuk, we ask God in fervent prayer, “Renew [your deeds] in our day” that all may glorify him.
Experience God’s Mercy
Third, we seek renewal in experiencing God’s mercy, “in wrath, remember mercy.” We grieve for those who do not know Christ. We ask God for mercy for spiritual breakthrough in places of darkness. We repent of our complacency. We ask God to renew us again that God may lead us in the “Unfinished Task” of sharing the good news of Jesus in all its fullness with East Asia’s peoples.
Just as Habakkuk declares, may all the peoples praise God as His glory covers the heavens (3:3) and His judgment covers the earth. (3:6)
We bear the torch that flaming, Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming, That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission, The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition, To Thee we yield our powers
Today, we want to echo in our prayers the same aspirations in this song. Indeed, we have the same commission, that is, to proclaim Jesus who died and rose.
We are fired by the same ambition, to see His name known among the peoples of the earth. We are seeking God for spiritual breakthrough in places of darkness that people will receive the light. We are seeking God for spiritual breakthrough in our own lives that we may fully yield ourselves to him. We are waiting upon God with an expectant heart that he will do amazing things among us – for when God acts, the earth trembles before him.
May the Lord establish the work of our hands, as we remain faithful to him and to the unfinished task that has been entrusted to us. May we continue to seek the Lord for willing and skillful workers for the unfinished task before us.
Patrick Fung, OMF International General Director