I was recently struck by a very uncomfortable thought when studying Ephesians 6:18-20.
‘What if God decided to answer all of our prayers for one day? Would more people be healed from an illness or saved by grace?’
In the movie, Bruce Almighty, Jim Carey is given God’s powers for a period of time and decides to answer yes to all the “PrayerMail” requests that were sent to God. In the movie, there are a few scenes depicting the chaos that ensues, but as I was reading Ephesians, I was struck with Paul’s request for courage to “fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which i am an ambassador in chains.”
Paul wasn’t concerned about being imprisoned, he didn’t ask for prayer about his physical condition, though most assuredly he wasn’t in perfect health. His concern was for the Gospel. And this was a characteristic of his ministry. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 says, “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.”
But so many times, our prayer requests are dominated by health issues, job situations, and other temporary situations. I’m afraid many Christians I know have given the Gospel second or third place in their prayer lives.
Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not bad to pray for those other things. But we must put our prayer emphasis on the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ. We must make it a habit to pray for opportunities to share our faith, to pray for those we know aren’t saved, to pray for our missionary friends who are spreading the Gospel overseas.
I’m afraid it would be a bittersweet day if God decided to affirmatively answer all our requests. We might rejoice in the restored health of our grandparents and the resolution of our job uncertainty, but it would be tempored when we came to realize the opportunity we missed to see more people come to Christ.