As we continue our series through the book of Genesis, I continue to spend a great deal of my devotional time in the New Testament. I work hard at not allowing my sermon preparation to also serve as my devotional time. Although sermon prep has elements of devotion and worship to it, it is generally a bit more academic for me, as I seek ways to communicate the passage and draw out application points and drive toward the “meat” of the passage.
Recently I have been walking through, somewhat meticulously, the Pauline corpus. That’s the snooty way to say it. It means “the letters Paul wrote,” only it sounds much cooler. I have been struck, once again, at how much Paul prays for his friends and the churches he helped establish. His letters are peppered with prayer. One of the areas I continue to grow in is in the area of prayer. I pray frequently throughout the day, but still find that my times of focused prayer can be a bit fragmented. My mind wanders occasionally and I find myself lost for words. Reading the prayers of the New Testament and the Psalms, in addition to some of the prayers of people like Nehemiah, Mary, the early church leaders, etc. has been a great help to me. If you find yourself in a similar situation, I highly recommend a book by D.A. Carson entitled: Praying with Paul: A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
Back in February in one of my “Jym Shorts” articles I listed some prayers that I am praying for our church family. I continue to pray these, and will reprint them a couple times each year and ask you to consider adding them to your prayers occasionally as well. Here they are again:
That the Lord will bring people under the influence of the church’s ministry who need to hear the gospel (Acts 18:9-10).
- That we will teach and preach “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). That we will not fear for our reputation nor our advantage in the community, but that we will proclaim “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
- That we will be a unified body of believers. That gossip and slander will be rejected by those who hear it, and that we will love and offer grace to one another in truly biblical proportions (John 13:34-35).
- That we will be a sending church (locally and internationally), with a heart for gospel missions that is unquenchable (Matt. 28:19-20).
- That we will love and care for our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:39).
- That God will minister to the singles in our church family (whether they be single by choice, widowed, or are simply single now but will be married one day), that they will use their singleness for God’s glory and for his kingdom (1 Cor. 7:25-35).
- For the marriages at LifePoint. Many are under duress. This is a primary focus of attack for both our world and our enemy. Pray that God would strengthen our marriages and cause us to see them for what they are, an opportunity not only for our happiness, but for our sanctification as well, and as a witness to a watching world (Eph. 5:32-33).
Because it is worth repeating, I will also reprint my prayer for our church family that the apostle Paul prayed for his friends in Philippi. I have been praying this prayer over our church family for a few years now: And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you will be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9-11).
I am praying for you all regularly. Please pray for me and the other church leaders regularly as well, and for your brothers and sisters within our church family. We won’t need to pray for each other when we are spending eternity together in glory, but on this side of heaven we all need it greatly, and God promises to hear and respond.
Grace and peace,