Praying for Gospel Waves in the Pacific
Sometimes praying for the gospel to advance means praying for the gospel to re-advance. The Word is preached, the church grows. Satan assaults and sin deceives. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14, ESV).
But there is a larger perspective. As the church historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette once observed, when viewed through the lens of the centuries Christ’s kingdom advances like waves pounding on a seashore. One wave approaches, crests, and breaks pounding the sand, the water racing up the beach. And then it ebbs. For a moment, the water is in retreat…until the next wave arrives. But in Christ’s kingdom, Latourette remarked, every new wave covers more ground than the previous wave, and each recession still marks an advance over the previous recession. And so, with both ebbing and flowing under the sovereign direction of God, the gospel tide rises.
Which brings us back to our first point: sometimes we need to pray for a new gospel wave to break. Such is the case when we consider the Pacific region.
Perhaps you’ve already seen the first 2016 Mission Video describing the formation of Sovereign Grace’s new Asia-Pacific region. Within that region lie the Pacific Islands, 26 island states, and territories scattered over a stretch of ocean larger than the combined landmass of Africa, Asia, and Europe. These smaller islands - with names like American Samoa, New Caledonia, Guam, French Polynesia – and the larger island nations like Papua New Guinea have historically received many gospel waves. Papua New Guinea is the world’s most complex nation by ethnic groups and languages. There are 887 people groups and 830 languages represented within its borders, and yet only one of those people groups is considered unreached. Other islands share a similar story through the heroic efforts of 19th-century missionaries. As we would expect, though, Satan and sin are active as well to oppose the kingdom. Operation World lists confusion over the gospel, false teaching, and economic struggles as prayer requests for many of these islands with such a rich history of Christian missions.
So how do we pray for these spiritual beaches, where the waves of the gospel broken and receded over generations? Consider these suggestions as we pray together for our new region and the larger story of King Jesus’ work in the Pacific islands. Pray:
- For Jesus to strength his churches, giving them spiritual insight and discernment to distinguish the true gospel from false teachings.
- For the Word, in many cases already translated into native languages, to accomplish its intended purpose (Isa. 55:10).
- For our sister Sovereign Grace churches to be a part of the next gospel wave to break on these Pacific islands.
- Ultimately, for the Lord to cause his promise to come to pass:
“Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants…Let them give glory to the LORD, and declare his praise in the coastlands… ‘I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them’” (Isa. 42:10, 16).
Josh Blount is an associate pastor at Living Faith Church in Franklin, WV. He is a graduate of the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College and currently pursuing an M.Div through Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Anna have one son, Elliot.
Photo credit: Göran Höglund
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