Prayers for our Churches
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
In these strange days of continued social distancing and less contact with our communities, creative ways to keep church families together have become a standard way of connecting. Now more than ever, online chat sessions and videos have become a place where we can share our hearts, pray together and study God’s Word. Some are making the helpful suggestion to remember God’s goodness for this technology and thank Him for it. Others, however, tend to say, “Yes, but . . .”
Which approach is right? Should we count our blessings, such as our brothers and sisters in Christ? Or do we lament how much harder it is to be a church family compared to just a few months ago?
God’s songbook, the Psalms, employs both approaches. Many of the psalms are laments. They tell God exactly what is going wrong, often in angry, desperate terms. Other psalms recall the good things God has done.
Psalm 78 occurs in the same section as many of the “lament” psalms, yet it pointedly remembers the great things God has done. Despite Israel’s disobedience, “He brought his people out [of slavery in Egypt] like a flock; he led them like sheep through the wilderness” (v. 52). The psalm recalls how “He guided them safely, so they were unafraid” (v. 53)—even as the sea literally swallowed their enemies. Ultimately, “He settled the tribes of Israel in their homes” (v. 55).
This life remains uncertain. And for now, connecting with our spiritual support, our prayer groups and our church friends is not without difficulty. Yet God remains constant. Just as He has always guided His people and been their strength, so too will He keep us going now and keep us bound to our church family through the unity of His peace and His Spirit.
So, whatever form it takes at the moment, “let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Almighty Father in Heaven, as the world begins to see the vulnerability of the things in which they place their trust, we pray for Your worldwide church whom You have commissioned to share your gospel and make disciples throughout the earth. Give wisdom to our church leaders as they navigate through unfamiliar territory. Bless their ministry with vision and encouragement. Raise up those whose gifts will help us negotiate this season of physical distance. Build our faith in Your timeless Word and Your perfect promises, Your unchanging character and boundless love. Empower us by Your Holy Spirit, deepen our individual walks with Christ, increase our corporate, though distant, fellowship and advance our urgent mission to reach the lost. During this time of instability and fear may we shine even brighter as the Light of the world for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Sovereign Lord, I lift my voice to join in praying for Christian ministries throughout the world, as they contend with the challenges and opportunities presented by COVID-19. All gospel ministry belongs to You; and I pray for Your special blessing on each one. I ask You to give wisdom to the leaders as they lead through these changing circumstances. Help them to keep workers safe. Give them grace to utilise new technologies to reach the lost and bring encouragement to believers. I pray for unity and fellowship within each ministry; and for renewed vision and faith as they continue to respond to the crisis. Bless them with creative thinking and new opportunities. Most of all, I pray that Your kingdom will be expanded as the lost become found. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Dear Lord, in these dark days I praise You that many in the world are seeking the truth like never before. As this world continues to be rocked on its foundations, they look for a kingdom that cannot be shaken. As human plans prove futile, they look for One whose purposes can never be frustrated. As they realise they are sheep lost and aimless in the wilderness, they long to be found by their true Shepherd. Lord Jesus, they look for You. May Your Spirit speak Your loving call into their hearts. May Your church be a beacon of light in the gloom of Coronavirus. Guide many souls into the eternal safety of Your kingdom in this season. And may Your name be lifted high as many new mouths proclaim praise for You, their King. For Your glory, Amen.
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