Today is the widely recognized National Day of Prayer and although most people think about praying for our nation, I want to share with you four prayers I have for my church. Midway Baptist Church is the epitome of an established Southern Baptist Church. Our church is 140 years old and God has blessed us historically, but we understand that we have no promise of longevity in the future. As a pastor, I do not simply desire that our church will continue to operate. Instead, my desire is that our church will impact the kingdom of God. I do not want to be involved with passive maintenance. Instead, I want to lead our church in active obedience. So here are four prayers for my church today:
- My first prayer is that my church would continue to grow in their love for the scriptures. I want my people to desire and devour the Word of God. These are the “wonderful words of life” but I am afraid that many of us are living in a constant state of spiritual starvation. My desire is that my congregation would become spiritually fat because they continually feast upon the riches of God’s Word. I pray that they would wake up meditating upon God’s new mercies. I pray that we would eagerly desire to sing, study, hear, memorize, speak, and live the word. I pray that they would not be satisfied with low-fat sermons and bible studies. No sugar substitutes; no low calories. I want us to desire the pure, unadulterated, powerful word of God.
- My second prayer is that my church would desire to share the gospel every day, first with themselves, then second with their neighbor. I pray that my church would understand that the person and work of Christ on our behalf is our only hope in life and in death. I pray that my people will understand that the gospel comes all the way down. It comes to the lowly and the humbled. It is for the losers and the worriers. The gospel is for capital “S” Sinners. I pray that the gospel would penetrate the heart of our church so much that it overflows naturally into our daily conversations. I pray that we would gossip the gospel. The time is short and the harvest is plentiful. I pray to the Lord of the harvest that He would raise up workers from our church and send them into our community to reap what He has sown.
- My third prayer for my church today is that God would help them to draw a clear line between their vocation and the gospel. I pray that He would help them to understand that “a Christian is an utterly free man, lord of all, subject to none.” And simultaneously that “a Christian is an utterly dutiful man, servant of all, subject to all.” I want our church to understand how God expects them to use their God-ordained job for His glory. Whether they are in the home, at work, at the farm, I want our people to understand what it means to do all things to the glory of God. This can only be done well if our people understand that their first job as believers is to love God supremely. Often we use our jobs as excuses for why we cannot serve God, but one day we will be ashamed of the years we spent prioritizes anything over Christ. Our jobs are not meant to be a distraction; they are meant to be a tool in which we serve God well.
- My fourth prayer for my church today is that God would raise up young men to lead our church faithfully. The Lord has blessed our church with godly leaders that love him. I cannot thank the Lord enough for the godly deacons that serve Midway Baptist Church alongside me. They have all blessed my family and me tremendously, but there is one problem. All of our deacons are older in age. Our youngest deacon is in his mid-sixties. They have served faithfully, but they cannot serve forever! My desire is that God would begin raising up younger men to lead our church faithfully. It will not be long before the baton will be passed; I pray that God would provide our church with spiritually mature, faithful men who are not afraid of the challenge and the responsibility that leading a church entails.
These four prayers cannot summarize all of my prayers for the church that I dearly love. My greatest desire for my church is that God would transform lives and make us useful for his Kingdom. I pray that we would be busy sharing the gospel, serving our community, and strengthening the saints all for the glory of God. What are some of your prayers for your church?