Monday, June 30, 2014

The Prayer of Pastors for Your Community

Last week, a group of pastors from the Elko area gathered to pray for ourselves, our churches, and our community.  We spent half a day together and hardly scratched the surface of what we were praying for.  I thought I would share with you some of what we prayed and discussed, realizing that our prayer points are universal for churches in virtually every community.

Our first prayer point surrounded the following passage:

"Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the word of His servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord
    and rely on their God.
But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from My hand: You will lie down in torment." (Isaiah 50:10-11)

Sometimes, God doesn't show us the future, intending that we learn to wait on Him to show us the next step.  We recognized that we (pastors, church leaders, congregations) often take matters into our own hands (i.e., make our own fire) and operate on the basis of our strategic plans, good ideas, the latest 'must-do', etc. God has said He will let us go the way of "our own fires"--but it will be without His blessing.  God forgive us.

Our second prayer point focused in on us not taking seriously enough our ministry and message of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-19). We identified some problem areas that we as a Church needed to pray into (1 Cor.):
1. (1 Cor. 3:5 ) Dividing into camps based on personalities.
2. (1 Cor. 6:7) Emphasizing individual rights/desires more than the reputation of Jesus.
3.  (1 Cor. 6:7) Fighting with each other over non-salvation concerns--distracting from the gospel of truth.
4.  (1 Cor. 9:19-22) Not willing to do whatever it takes (short of sin) to reach the lost.
5.  (1 Cor. 9:23) We fail to see people as God sees them.
6. (1 Cor. 13) We have forgotten what it truly means to agape love one another.
7. (1 Cor. 10:31)  We are more interested in hearing the praises (or avoiding the criticisms) of congregants, boards, etc.
Jesus said: "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  (Matt. 16:18)  How have we as pastors and churches engaged in "making our own fire" or not taking our ministry and message of reconciliation seriously enough? Could this be the reason we fail to take enemy territory--causing a dilution (or even withdrawal) of God's full blessing?  God help us!

As pastors, we know that we often spend a lot of time building "our kingdom" that we fail to build His Kingdom.  We will be meeting again for a prayer retreat in September for God to continue to do His work in us.

Take this list and commit to praying for your pastor and church leaders regularly regarding these prayer points. [By the way, pray these same items for yourself also.]  Let Jesus build His Church!

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