“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, especially during this heightened persecution in many countries in Asia,” said Rev. David Platt, lead pastor at McLean Bible Church in Virginia and founder of the evangelistic outreach ministry Radical.
In the second plenary of the Jakarta 2023 Global Convention on Christian Faith delivered on October 3, Dr. Platt prayed four specific prayers over leaders of the church in Asia based on Ephesians 1:15-23.
Rev. Platt, the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including the book Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, recalled his first trip to China about 20 years ago, when he spent time with underground church leaders who risked their lives to meet together. He shared those stories in one of his books, expressing gratitude for those Christians in China. In the sermon, he prayed four specific points for Asia.
“Number one, I pray that you will trust in the authorities of Christ,” the pastor prayed. “This entire prayer (of this passage) falls around who Jesus is and how Jesus is reigning over all things. Verse 20 tells us he is the risen station, the ascended king. Jesus has conquered sin and death himself. Because Jesus has conquered death, we do not fear suffering, persecution, or death.”
“Do you realize what this means? It means Jesus is reigning over everything happening in China, Indonesia, and the United States right now. Jesus holds everyone—our presidents, prime ministers, rulers, and educators—in the palm of his hand. Jesus is in charge of everything happening in your life and in my life.”
His second prayer was “that you will be filled with the power of Christ.” The pastor went on to explain that God has given Christ as a gift to the church. “Verse 23 says we are the body of Christ, which means we have his fullness.”
“That means all authority in Christ has been given to the church. We are united with Christ, the resurrected and exalted Lord that has authority over all things.”
He illustrated this with the marriage union between his wife and him. When he was preparing to get married, he was a university student without any income, while his future wife had an income from a job. On the wedding day, he got married to her, resulting in receiving cash flow shared with her.
Similarly, “our lives are united with Jesus Christ, who has authority over heaven and earth. When we unite our lives with him, all that he has becomes ours. We have his righteousness, wisdom, needs, and joy. We have the resources all stored in heaven and on earth.”
The pastor proclaimed, "Brothers and sisters, I remind you of a thing, especially in times when it feels like the church is small and struggling, remember this: the church of Jesus Christ is never weak."
Highlighting that Christians are victors of sin, have the power over pagan cultures, and do not fear spiritual struggle, he exhorted the participants to confirm that our lives proceed with Jesus in heaven. "Our head, Jesus Christ, has authority over all things. He has said to us, ‘I will give you everything you need to accomplish my mission in the world.’ I pray that in your life and in your churches, you will be filled with the power of Christ.”
The third prayer was to “spread the glory of his presence.” He urged Christians in China to make disciples of all nations, according to the Great Commission. “As the church, we are God’s chosen instruments for the spread of Christ’s glory to the world.”
“The need for the gospel in the rest of the world is greater than ever before in history. There are over three billion people today who have little access to the gospel, and they are unreached tribes. There are more unreached people today than ever before in history, and many of them are in Asia. At the same time, we have more opportunities to spread the gospel to them than ever before in history.”
Rev. Platt stressed that while it might take Paul months to travel from one place to another, we can fly to any place in the world within one single day. Transportation, technological advantages, urbanization, and globalization have created more opportunities for us to reach the unreached.
“I pray you will cling to the hope of Christ,” he expressed in the last specific prayer. “God will give you the spirit of wisdom, the revelation, and the knowledge of them that you will have the fine wisdom in your life, family, and work as the church, and that you will know God deeply.”
He offered his personal warning to the participants that there was a time in his ministry filled with busy schedules and fame, but his personal walk with God was cold and distant. He prayed for God’s grace in his life, and then he came to know God more deeply.
He reminded church leaders to know God deeply, walk with Him humbly and passionately, and regard Him as the most precious thing in the world. “I pray your eyes might be able to see and your hearts might be able to know the whole you have in God himself, and you might know, especially in hard and difficult days, that the riches of the inheritance and glory of God are you.”
"I pray you will cling to the hope of Christ, you will trust in the authority of Christ, you will be filled with the power of Christ, and that you will spread the glory of Christ until the day we see our risen savior and he receives all the glory that is doing in his name," the pastor concluded.