Prayer Focus: The Image of the Invisible

We are called to take Christ to those bowing to images made by human hands.

“He is the image of  the invisible God,  the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15 ESV)

How can you see an image of something invisible?

An image is a visible impression. It can be seen. It’s observable. By contrast, the very definition of invisible means unable to be seen, concealed from sight, not visible. So, how is it possible to see the invisible?

He refers to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the image of God. Our English word icon comes from this word. Jesus is the observable, visible impression of God. Images can sometimes be blurry. But Jesus is not a copy of God. He is God. Hebrews sharpens the image for us by saying that Jesus “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3a).

This is a paradox. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and by nature is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17). No one has ever seen or can see him (1 Tim. 6:16). God has revealed his invisible attributes in the created world (Rom. 1:20). They can clearly be seen. And in Jesus, Paul affirmed that this God who cannot be seen by anyone can now be seen by everyone.

But not everyone sees him.

People suppress this truth by their unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Satan has also blinded the minds of unbelievers “to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).

Every day in South Asia, Buddhists and Hindus bow down to hand-crafted images that represent false gods. During multi-day festivals focused on worship, people attempt to awaken these gods by striking a gong and then feeding them treats and offering trinkets in hopes of receiving blessings and favor. Because of their blinded eyes and sinful suppression of the truth, these folks have exchanged the glory of the immortal God (Rom. 1:23) for cold, lifeless statues.

There are 225 million people living in South Asia. But less than 1 percent follow Jesus. God is calling his church to move into these areas of the world. People need to see Christ, who is the image of the true God.

Pray for laborers to proclaim God’s Word. Pray for blinded eyes to be opened. Pray for Christ to be seen.

This week, let’s pray:

“Heavenly Father, give us eyes to see the need in South Asia. Give us courage to respond. Give us faith to go. Open their eyes, minds, and hearts to the truth of Jesus Christ and his gospel. Let them see Jesus for who he is.”

Prayer requests for South Asia:

  1. Pray for godly relationships to be built with three potential national partners.
  2. Pray for our South Asia Open Initiative Team to be strengthened and have unity and insight.
  3. Pray for an upcoming survey trip to South Asia this fall, for its timing, itinerary, and logistics, and for the projects they will visit.
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Bobby Hile

Bobby Hile was ABWE’s Director of Long-Term Mobilization. Prior to that, he served for 9 years as a senior pastor in Ohio and for almost 20 years with ABWE as a missionary in South Africa.