Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCH: What Should I Pray For My Church?

HEALTHY CHURCH: What Should I Pray For My Church?

In our newest church plant in Oradea Romania, our missionary from Brasov, Cristian Martinez, shared four things he always prays for his church plant. He opened our services in prayer and he prayed these four things for Agape as well. Having recently written a lot on prayer, allow me to encourage you again to press into prayer and find the perseverance that can only be produced in God’s secret place (Psa. 27:5; Psa. 31:20; Psa. 91:1; Matt. 6:6; Eph. 6:18). Whatever you do in the area of prayer, you cannot quit. In the midst of the journey, you must dedicate yourself to intensifying your pursuit of God.

Cristian asked the Lord first to keep us true to good doctrine. Titus 1:9 (HCSB) says, “Holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.” Sound lives are built on sound doctrine, and the Bible is not a resource for truth, but it is the source of all truth. Discernment is desperately needed in order to not be deceived. Marks of deception are seen when people teach other doctrines or disagree with sound doctrine. Typically, they reject doctrine that conforms us to godliness. Titus 2:1 says, “But you must say the things that are consistent with sound teaching.”

You are not only commanded to obey sound doctrine, but to teach on right living because the two go hand-in-hand. God’s Word gives practical instruction about the things fitting (godly behavior) for sound doctrine. You must be able to discern, detect and diagnose any deviations from God’s plan for spiritual health and righteousness. Only the Scriptures equip us to diagnose the deadly diseaseof false teachings.It requires careful, biblical discernment to see the deception clearly and bring it into the light. Many Scriptures were written to teach us how to diagnose satanic darkness masquerading as divine light!

We were also reminded to ask God to keep us aware of the love of Christ. J.D. Greear stated, “The one thing God did not have that He was willing to go to the bloody cross of Calvary to obtain was you!” Leslie Newbigin stated, “To create the heavens and the earth cost God nothing. But to save us cost Him His very life!” The apostle Paul, in Eph. 1:18 (Paul’s prayer), points out that when you really understand how precious you are to God, it will totally transform your life. In Eph. 3:16-19 (another prayer) Paul wanted us to grasp just how much God loves us, but admitted that it was beyond his ability to adequately explain it.

God’s love becomes real when He enlightens your spiritual eyes, through His Word and prayer, to see how long, high, wide and deep His love is for you. Understanding what God has done for you in Jesus and how much He loves you is infinitely more important than recognizing what He has done in and through you. How long is God’s love? It is from eternity and for all eternity. How high is God’s love? It expands beyond His universe. How wide is God’s love? It encompasses everything He created. How deep is God’s love? It makes a wretch drenched in sin God’s treasure. Ephesians 1:18 (KJV) says, “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

The third thing we were challenged to pray for was unity. Have you ever seen an individual tune their guitar? An electronic tuner enables someone to tune each string to the exact tone and note required for their instrument to play beautifully. However, if you tune one guitar to the next then to the next, after three or four lines, the last guitar will probably be out of tune with the first guitar. If you want your church to be in unity and to play beautiful relational music of spiritual unity, everyone must be tuned in to the Master Tuner, Jesus Christ, not any man — Apollos or even Paul. I Corinthians 12:13 says we were all baptized into one body.

Disunity is guaranteed when your gaze is no longer on Jesus but instead on your own personal preferences, styles and views. In prayer, God’s secret place, you can gaze on God’s beauty, splendor and grander. The author of Hebrews challenged us to look to Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith.” Christians are not called to “be” themselves but rather to deny themselves. Christians are not called by Christ to live for themselves but rather to die to themselves, daily. Unity comes when you surrender to Him as Lord of your life, your family and your church and everyone is in tune with Him.

Then we were challenged to pray for holiness. The Christian life is a call to holiness with the awareness that you are in this world, but you are not to be of this world. There is the danger of extremes from legalism to license but a good standard to follow is that if God said “no,” He meant no and with your best interest in mind. Today, we are told that God loves us with no conditions. Yes, He loves you, but there are biblical standards and guidelines He expects His children to obey and follow. One social media post recently said, “Sorry if the church ever hurt you. That was people, not God.” It caused me to stop and ask, does God ever hurt anyone?

What about Jacob, Miriam (Moses’ sister), Ananias and Saphira and, most of all, Jesus? Yes, He Loves you and He loves you enough to discipline you. According to Heb. 12:6 (HCSB), “For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives.” Pray for a holiness that is driven by the holiness of God and that will settle for nothing less than God’s plan and God’s best. This is a healthy prayer that builds up and develops healthy Christians who will build up and multiply healthy churches!