Churches often hold prayer meetings. How often have you heard the pastor or prayer-meeting facilitator ask, “Do you have any prayer requests?” In most meetings, what follows is a list of prayer requests related to sicknesses and other troubles people we love are experiencing. We should pray for healing, comfort and peace.
Too often, however, we spend too much time reciting these troubles and not enough time on our knees crying out to our Heavenly Father. My friend and prayer ministry leader, Gary Miller, says, “We should talk less and pray more.” I agree.
If I were asked, “Do you have any prayer requests for Missouri Southern Baptist churches?” – here is my response: I would ask that we . . .
Pray for your one
What is the name of the person in your sphere of influence who needs to know Jesus? Not just know about Jesus but needs to surrender his or her life to Jesus. Not just giving mental assent to the historical Jesus, but actually repenting and receiving by faith the finished work of Jesus. What is that person’s name?
What would happen all across the heartland if thousands of Baptists found their knees at the altar of the church, claiming their one person for Christ? Crying out with tears for the souls of people God has planted in the mosaic of our lives for the purpose of their receiving His salvation? Who will ask the Father to bind the strong man, the strong will of a lost man, the hardness of a cultural Christian’s heart, and set them free to come to faith in Christ?
Do you actually believe that God wants us to call out to Him for the salvation of others? Absolutely! Their lives depend on it. Their families are waiting for the transformational power of gospel to invade the lives of people like the Philippian jailer who met Christ along with his entire household.
It starts with just one – one man or woman of God crying out to God for that one lost person, and surrendering ourselves to be the vessels God uses to lead them toward the gospel.
By the way: Have you considered praying, by name, for your neighbors? There’s a great web resource to help you identify and pray for your neighbors. Check out Bless Every Home at Blesseveryhome.com.
Pray for an awakened confidence in Christ
The enemy of Christ followers is ever working to condemn people into spiritual hibernation, or joylessness, or prayerlessness. No Christ follower has to live that way. Why?
For one thing, there are multiple passages (my favorite is John 1:12) that communicate the status of a Christ follower. When we are born again, we enter into a powerful royal relationship with our God. Romans 8:16-17 is very clear that through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, we are made children, and “if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. If we suffer we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” I don’t care for the suffering part, but it is clear that no matter our circumstances, our royal relationship is fixed by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What happens when I mess up? God’s Word again clears the way for restored confidence in who we are in Christ. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This is not a gospel “get out of jail free” card. It is serious business for the authentic Christ follower.
This is basic Discipleship 1.0. If we are condemned by ungodly behavior, then we are inhibited in our capacity to confidently walk with God in business, in family, in marriage, in parenting, in doing life. But confidence can be and must be restored. “There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Believe the Word. Repent and confess. Act on the Word!
Pray for a spirit of cooperation among our churches
The commission of the Lord Jesus is too enormous for one believer, or even one church – small or mega. The Lord intended His people to be honest about our ineptness and humbly choose to work together to do His will as a team, a family.
If there is ever to be one distinctive about Bible-believing Missouri Southern Baptists, it must be that we choose to take up the cross daily and work together on what is the way of God. There are so many lost people. So much brokenness. So much idolatry to the gods and false philosophies of this world. It takes us all to spread the one gospel to multi-ethnics, multi-generations, multi-perspectives.
One of the great things about the cooperative spirit among Southern Baptists is that we are all part of what the Lord is doing in amazing ways through our combined efforts. Our churches don’t just send out one or two missionaries. We share a stake in approximately 4,000 international missionaries. Our churches don’t just have one missionary on a nearby campus. In Missouri, we are part of 25 campus ministries. MBC’s three universities are attempting to equip the next generation of church leaders and community professionals with a defendable biblical worldview as the foundation for their lives in whatever profession they may choose. On and on the list could grow because cooperation gives us the capacity to make the largest impact for the gospel.
“Lord, help us reach our ONE, grow in confident grace with holy lives that honor you in all things, and be more cooperative with one another. Help our pastors and church leaders equip the people of God to be on mission with God in cooperation with others.”