Prayer Challenge - Part II
Last month, I asked the congregation to consider the following prayer challenge: We will all commit to praying specifically for the ministry of Montours Church on a regular basis, preferably every day. As a part of this challenge I stated that I would leave it up to each of you to decide what to pray for, but I encouraged everyone to be specific in their prayers, to do more than simply ask God to bless the church. I wrote, “Search your heart. What is it that you truly want for the ministry of this Church? Whatever is on your heart, lift it up to God.” Though I want to leave it up to you to decide what to pray for, I do want to share some thoughts on how Scripture can be a resource in helping us pray for the ministry of the church.
When Jesus was with his disciples in the Upper Room, he broke bread with them and shared the cup of the new covenant. Jesus told the disciples to continue to break bread and share the cup in remembrance of him, which we do each week as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. As we think about the ministry of the church, we can certainly pray that the communion table around which we gather can be a place of remembrance for all God’s people, not just for those of us who are already here, but for those who do not yet know that they too have a place at Christ’s table. We can pray to be inspired by the Spirit to invite others to Christ’s table. There are many ways that this story can guide our thoughts when we pray for the ministry of Montour’s church.
In John’s gospel, Jesus was talking to his disciples about his approaching death. In this conversation Jesus makes an interesting statement. He says, “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” The obvious reference for this statement, as John notes, is the fact that Jesus was going to be crucified, lifted up on the cross. Yet, we can also think about this in terms of the church’s ministry. We lift up the name of Jesus in our worship service every week. We can pray to Jesus that as we lift up his name, he would draw all people to himself, not just those of us who are already here, but also those who do not yet know just how much Jesus loves them.
Those are just two examples of how Scripture can be a resource in helping up pray for the ministry of the church. There are other Scriptures that can help us as well. For example, in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” What does this passage suggest for our prayers to God about the ministry of the church?
Then, there is the passage in the Book of Acts about the success of the early church due to the grace of divine intervention. Luke writes, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread together in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Again, what does this passage suggest for our prayers to God about the ministry of the church?
As we continue with this prayer challenge, if we find that we are at a loss for what to ask of God for the ministry of Montours church, we can always turn to the Scriptures to help us find the language to lift up to God the desires of our hearts.