Keeping mission vision alive and growing A quarterly publication of Mission Data International

Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Not What His Disciples Expected

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

By David Armstrong

The disciples had seen God do amazing things when they preached in the villages of Israel. They had asked whether this was the time when Israel would be restored to prominence. They were focused on Israel. They were focused on the people and place in front of them and found it difficult to think beyond the borders of Palestine. Yet that was the next step Jesus had for them after his death and resurrection. Filled with the Spirit, they were to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).

This was so beyond their mindset that God had to give Peter a special vision. He showed Peter that Gentiles were not unclean and sent him to share the gospel with the Roman soldier Cornelius (Acts 10). Even after that, God raised up someone else—Paul, raised in Greek culture as well as Hebrew scripture—to lead the charge in taking the gospel beyond the Jewish world.

Matthew 28 shows us something else. It shows us Jesus did not send his first followers to take the gospel to the nations and then come back home again. He wanted them to stay as an example, helping new followers integrate the good news about Jesus into their daily lives. That meant the disciples had to go and live among the very people they had been taught all their lives to stay away from. To make disciples of all nations was not what they were expecting… but it was the means by which whoever believed would not perish but have eternal life. That’s the wonderful news Jesus revealed to Nicodemus (John 3:16).

A Call to Lift up Our Eyes

Today, when you hear about the persecuted in the Middle East or conflicts in Ukraine, how do you respond? Do they feel too far removed from us to dwell on? How easily we human beings seek God’s best for “me” and “mine,” when God wants to extend the blessing of relationship with him to all the world!

A practice that may help: May I challenge you to pray your way through the news? As you hear, see, and read what is happening on the other side of the world, pray for the people and the situations in which they are forced to live. And pray, even more, that God would use these events to turn people’s eyes toward him.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that God thinks as much about people far removed from us as he does about you and me. And God also moves on their behalf in response to your prayers and mine. Ask God to give you his heart for the nations. May he stretch you and me to see them as he sees them.

People of all denominations pray together in the public square in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Photo by Sergey Baliuk, via United Bible Societies (article here).

Two Strategies for Praying through the News

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

1. Use your regular news sources, but add prayer.

Broadcast news doesn’t lend itself to a prayerful and contemplative response since as soon as one story is done they are on to the next one. But if you take in your world news online or in print, it’s easy to stop and pray for the people affected by a story after you read it.

There are lots of ways to involve others in your efforts to pray through the news. Cut or print out articles to share with your family, small group, or church class, or, maybe better yet, put a news source in their hands and ask them to choose an international news story to respond to in prayer.

Also consider news sources with more international content or perspectives you might not get from your regular news sources. Check out the BBC,, or one or more of the thousands of international sources listed by country and region at

2. Follow a news source designed for prayer.

World in Prayer is a website with beautiful prayers of petition and gratitude in response to changing global situations. Started by an Episcopal Church in California, it’s now produced by an all-volunteer team of 15 people on two continents and representing half a dozen different denominations.

You might also find fuel for prayer from Mission Network News, Mission Catalyst’s News Briefs, or updates directly from missionaries and agencies you know.

The Transformational Small Church

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Originally posted to Ed Stetzer’s blog, the following article by Nathan James — co-pastor of Epoch Church in Little Rock, Arkansas — looks at various aspects of being a Transformational Small Church.

At times it may seem that small churches can do little for the kingdom because of limited resources. But in reality we are all called to reach the nations, and every church is empowered by the gospel to make a global impact, regardless of size. Nathan is here today to address that very issue.

Mobilizing People For Missions

God can transform your life and show you his heart for the nations if you allow him. I had one of those experiences not long ago when our church took its first international mission trip. I had the chance to lead a team of twelve to serve the Lord in Haiti on July 4th, 2010. I had been on an international trip before, but this was the church’s first. I want to point out something I was starkly reminded of: When you are willing to follow the Lord’s mandate to reach the nations, then it is as if God pulls back the curtains and gives you a wider kingdom perspective. The way you pray changes. When you pray, Our Lord, it has a whole new meaning. The way you worship in song changes. When you sing, “How Great is Our God,” your worldview broadens. The way you see those around you changes. When someone is hurting, you have a keener sense of compassion. Are you willing to allow the Lord to broaden your kingdom perspective? (more…)

Strengthening the M-DAT leadership team

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

by David Armstrong

At the annual M-DAT Board Retreat this Spring, the staff and Board made some significant changes in M-DAT’s leadership roles to better facilitate continuing growth in our services and better match our team member’s skills and gifts with needs in the office.

Some key responsibilities were shuffled and the organization is moving to a three person leadership team composed of an Executive Director, a Director of Program Services and a Director of Operations.

Our previous executive director, who has ably led M-DAT for its first 10 years, has assumed the role of Program Services Director to focus his energies and skills on the ongoing development of our web based missions training and preparation services.

The legal, financial and overall administrative tasks for the organization will now be covered by the Director of Operations. David Armstrong has moved into that role. Amanda Snodgrass has assumed the position of Service Manager and will be helping the many organizations who use to make known the opportunities they offer.

And lastly, we are now looking for a new Executive Director. Pray for our Board as they define the unique job description for this position and then find and interview candidates. We would appreciate your prayers as we wait on God to provide the right person for the new role. Also pray for the team as a whole as we adjust to these transitions.

As always we remain committed to helping people take their next step in missions involvement.

M-DAT news and prayer

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Prayer: Pray that God would provide a new Executive Director for our Leadership Team. And pray for the M-DAT team as we adjust to the modified and enlarged roles.

Prayer: Pray for us as we are in discussions about a partnering arrangement with another website to provide broader coverage for the many great mission trips posted on There are a lot of details to be considered.

Praise: Praise the Lord for a college student and recent graduate who are inquiring about helping develop content for our web sites as volunteers.

Praise: Praise for a great time of interaction at our March Annual Board Retreat. We have a terrific Board which provides helpful perspectives.

Praise: We were greatly encouraged to see the number of people looking for mission trips go back up this Spring after a plateauing of interest last Spring.

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