Last Sunday I challenged the worshipping community at Resurrection to a prayer commitment. Following Jesus’ example of prayer in John 17 where he looked to heaven, I asked people to pray for three things and to commit at least five minutes daily to this task. Consistent prayer is vital to a congregation’s mission. Are you open to a prayer challenge?
The first part of my challenge is to pray for those who are close to you: your spouse, children, siblings, parents, or significant others. Jesus prayed for his disciples. They had shared years of ministry together and had become a family. He asked his Father in heaven to protect his disciples. Our prayers for loved one can be that simple: for God to bless, protect and encourage them.
Second, I encourage you to pray for your congregation’s mission. In our secular age, it is easy to forget that congregations have a God-given mission to accomplish. Jesus gave his mission to his disciples: to proclaim “eternal life, that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). At Resurrection we have that same mission, only we call it the Vibrant Life of Faith in Christ.
Third, I invite you to pray for your adversary, for the person with whom you struggle daily or weekly. It might be someone at work, at home or in your neighborhood. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus told the disciples, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
A friend told me about his struggle to love his adversary. Every day as he went to work he saw a picture of the person and felt this internal anger rise up. It got to the point where he would take a different route to work so as to avoid the picture. He was discussing this with his wife when she suggested that instead of avoiding it, he simply pray for God’s blessing and joy to be with his adversary, to envision the person covered in God’s light. He listened to his wife and started praying. At first there was no change in his emotions, but he persevered. Gradually he felt his animosity dissipate. He grew to see his adversary as a fellow child of God.
What are your prayer challenges?
Lord Jesus, bless my family, church and enemies.