Being a Christian means praying for all people!

Gaggenau, of all places—it was in the surroundings of this town that Helge Mutschler grew up as a child. Years later, he was appointed a District Apostle Helper in this very same place. That’s how small the world often is! But that is also how great God’s work is! Well, according to the Chief Apostle, anyway.

On Sunday, 28 February 2021, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider spent some time in the west of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Owing to the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the corona virus, he was not able to come to Northern Germany in order to confer this new responsibility upon Apostle Helge Mutschler. Instead, he had to stay a little closer to the French border. The first epistle to Timothy was the focal point of his sermon: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2: 3–6).

One gospel for all

“We are to pray for the salvation of all people, because God wants all human beings to be saved.” This thought, said the Chief Apostle, is consistent with the content of the whole New Testament. Although Jesus came to the Jews first, He was very quick to show them that He was also there for the Samaritans. Later on, Peter even visited Cornelius and thereby demonstrated that even the Gentiles could find their way to salvation. “Jesus also made it clear that salvation was not only available to the good and the devout, but rather that salvation was also accessible to the sinners, the adulteress, and the corrupt—even to the malefactor on the cross.” In the end, Jesus even gave thought to those who put Him to death.

Pray, don’t preach!

“Followers of Christ are to pray for all human beings,” appealed the Chief Apostle. “We not only believe in the gospel and in the power of God’s love, but we also love all human beings. We pray that they may all receive the same that we have received!” This also means, however, that we do not expect—or insist—that they must be faithful for just as long as we have been faithful, or that they must suffer exactly as much as we have suffered. “We do not want to be anything more than anyone else either! Nor do we expect them to become as we are, or that they should live the same way we do. The main thing is that they follow Jesus Christ!”

Even for your enemies…

“But there is more”, said the Chief Apostle, before going on to remind the congregation of the words of Jesus: “Love your enemies!” “Let us truly pray for all people, even for those who persecute us and those who are not well inclined toward us. In short, let us pray for our enemies!” “That,” he said, “is a big step.”

However, people must also hear the gospel if they are to come to faith. “So, prayer is good, but there is something more that is required: prayer and work.” Our prayers might thus express the following: “Dear God, help me to truly proclaim the gospel, so that others can hear it. Otherwise they cannot be saved. Give me the courage to profess that I am a Christian. Give me the courage to talk about Christ without fear, without reservations, and to say quite openly that I am a Christian.” This is not something we need to preach necessarily, as we can also show this through our actions. “Let us simply profess our faith in Christ and openly say that we are Christians!”

Praying and acting

The Chief Apostle held on to this idea quite insistently: “Let me go a step further: ‘Lord, help me to be a legible letter of Christ!’ This should also be part of our prayer for the salvation of all human beings. All people are to see that I believe in God. All people, when they look at my life, are to see that I trust God and that I love Him. Then I will not need to say much. People will simply see it.”

Never give up!

Jesus Christ said that we are to pray without ceasing. “We are not to lose courage just because we think that no one is interested. Let us be steadfast in our profession and testimony of Jesus Christ. One day, perhaps, we will experience that we have been a great help to someone we did not even notice—but that person noticed us! And through our profession, through our example, through our actions, we served as a letter of Christ that this person was able to read!”

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Peter Johanning
Germany, Chief Apostle, Divine service