Brokenness, the common denominator for sharing the gospel

June 3, 2019

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” (Rev. 5:8)

In South Asia: A well-dressed, cosmopolitan woman on her cell phone stops mid-stride to pay homage to a specific tree god that has a ribbon around it, offerings of fruit and coconut beside it. A driver in a sports car weaves and cuts through bumper-to-bumper traffic in a mega-city, passing young pros on their motorcycles and bicycle rickshaw drivers earning about two dollars a day. On village farms, men, women and children work long hours in the hot sun with rudimentary farm tools. Muslim men file down the sidewalks towards the mosque for Friday prayers. Hindu families purchase flowers and fruit on their way into their temples, then ring a bell to wake up their gods so they can be seen giving their offerings.

In Southeast Asia: Large domed stupas holding a relic of the Buddha (a hair, a bone, a toenail), attract thousands of worshippers who come to circle the structure and offer prayers. Sex workers call out to tourists visiting a night bazaar in a bustling tropical city. Children orphaned by AIDS barely survive on the streets unless they are rescued by some ministry. Cities stand impressively with towering skyscrapers, wide paved streets and beautiful malls, but hide the depravity within.

Though prayerwalking, God has shared with me a bit of His broken heart over the lostness of His children.

In North Carolina: A rusted bicycle lays unused with flat tires in an apartment complex littered with beer bottles and a couple of old grills. A beautiful house sits in a neighborhood, surrounded by a manicured lawn, three closed garage doors, and alarm company signs in the yard. A trailer door discourages visitors, plastered with “Go Away,” “Beware of Dog” and “My Camera is On” signs. People walk their dogs in a suburban neighborhood, looking at their phones. Families enjoy their day at a playground. A homeless man holds a sign at a stoplight.

After prayerwalking with other believers in many locations, I can say that it is not always a glorious experience. Can you sense the lostness in the scenes described above? I can’t paint a picture of all the sights, smells and noise, but I can tell you that I’ve almost been overcome by the brokenness. How can people believe the lies? Why do they look for peace and pleasure in things that will not last? Why do the innocent have to suffer? How can people be so evil? Why do some isolate themselves behind closed doors and by staring at their phones? Through prayerwalking, God has shared with me a bit of His broken heart over the lostness of His children.

Yet He is love. He is longsuffering and kind, not wanting any to perish. He calls His people to pray, stand in the gap for these lost ones and intercede on their behalf. He asks us to put on our armor and battle against the spiritual forces of darkness. Whether we are in a foreign land or walking in a pocket of lostness in our own backyard, God invites us to speak Scripture over the lost and claim His promises of salvation. He calls us to care and to hope. He calls us to see.

May our prayers be as incense filling the golden bowls placed before the Lamb. (Rev. 5:8)


by John Davenport 
Strategic Focus Team  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Top 5 resources for April 2020

Every month, we spotlight five helpful resources for you as you seek to walk closely with the Lord and make disciples. Many of these resources are created by the staff of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to help meet the ministry needs of pastors and lay...

Self-care for group leaders in the new normal

Just a few weeks ago, we went to work or school, came home, ate dinner and went to bed in a very ordinary way. And as a Sunday School or small group leader, we sought to grow our group deeper in Bible study, create a loving community and be on mission together. Then suddenly, we...

Caring for groups in the new normal

Sunday, March 1 was a typical day. You went to church looking forward to group time, eager to share a theme that you had not only worked hard to prepare for, but that you were also excited to apply to your life as you entered the spring. But just a week later, life was anything...

Family discipleship with help from the web: An A-to-Z guide

Many parents have suddenly expanded their parenting resumé to include the role of homeschool teacher. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells parents they are to teach their children about God throughout the rhythms of the day. What if you could combine teaching and discipleship to make...

Timeless tips for families in troubling times

“School’s out!” is a phrase that usually creates excitement in the hearts of children and (some) parents. But that’s when it’s June and family vacations and camps are on the agenda. “Spring break” has taken on a new meaning this year amid the coronavirus. COVID-19 has disrupted...

Q&A: How churches, pastors are eligible for relief in stimulus package

The COVID-19 Pandemic Phase III Stimulus Package signed into law on Friday, March 27 by President Donald Trump will provide potential relief for churches and pastors, thanks to efforts by the Church Alliance, a national coalition of large and historic church benefit boards,...

BSCNC officials to offer guidance on coronavirus relief bill

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) and convention legal counsel will offer guidance and assistance to N.C. Baptist pastors and church leaders in the coming days regarding the impact on churches and other non-profits by the federal coronavirus relief package...

How to approach Easter amid COVID-19

Easter is the highlight of the Christian year — the culmination of the gospel story. Redemption. Resurrection. Eternal life. With churches not being able to celebrate Easter together due to social distancing and limits on public gatherings because of the coronavirus, what should...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!