January 21, 2020 | Prayer Guides by Various Authors
God's Will for Your Church
DAY 21 – WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.— Ephesians 2:10
Just prior to this verse, Paul reminds us “by grace you have been saved through faith” (vs. 8), and God has “seated us with him in the heavenly places with Christ Jesus” (vs. 6). Christ has done the work of salvation for us. And now, as His new creation, He has amazingly purposed to work through us. This is not toilsome labor we are commanded to do. Instead, the works set before us are “good” and “prepared beforehand.” As we participate in these fruitful activities, we should remember the world will see these “good deeds and glorify God” (1 Pet 2:11). Our goal is His glory!
Questions to consider:
Are you trusting in Christ’s work alone for your salvation, and not in any good work you do? Are you actively serving within the body, remembering there are good works He has already planned for you to do? Are the “good works” you participate in for God’s glory alone?
- Lord, help me to walk out my faith through participating in the good works You have already planned for me. Give me discernment to recognize which works You would have me participate in.
- Lord, let me bring You, and You alone, glory in what I do. When I become prideful in my own works, convict me and let my lips bring “a sacrifice of praise that acknowledge your name” so that I may please You (Heb 13:15–16).
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.— Matthew 5:14–16
DAY 22 – NOT NEGLECTING TO MEET TOGETHER
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.— Hebrews 10:24–25
Recently I read a quote regarding fellowship that would eventually come into regular use in my vocabulary. Here is the quote: “True Christian fellowship is ‘the Jesus in you meeting the Jesus in me!’” Wow! Did you get that? We are Christians (a.k.a. little Christs), and when we meet each other, the Jesus in you smiles at the Jesus in me.
That’s why coming to church each Sunday and Wednesday is so important. Our individual faith becomes more effective and strengthened when we gain biblical knowledge of every good thing that is in the believer for Christ’s sake. Meeting together is a tool to encourage believers to continue in acts of righteousness. Those who receive true salvation begin to have true fellowship with one another. In fact, this fellowship (or koinonia in the Greek) is really just “the Jesus in you meeting the Jesus in me!”
Questions to consider:
Is coming to church a delight or a duty? Do you see the need for true fellowship with one another? What can you do to stir another believer to love and good works?
- Lord, let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
- Lord, remind us of the importance of believer’s fellowshipping together and encouraging one another to love and to good works.
- Father, encourage me to encourage others. Remind me of this verse as I walk the hallways and serve in the body.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.— 1 Thessalonians 5:11
DAY 23 – GOD’S CHURCH AT WORK
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.— Romans 12:4–9
Each one of us have been placed by Christ into His body of believers where He is the head of the body. The beauty of the church is revealed when all believers seek to glorify God by putting Christ first in all aspects of their lives. This unity is the unity that is distinct from the rest of the world. The church is a unified whole with our identity in Christ (one body), yet we are distinct within that one body (individual members). As Paul points out in this passage, it is by God’s grace, not by anything we have done, that all believers have been given spiritual gifts to edify the church. Spiritual gifts are special skills and abilities God gives His people to accomplish the work of His church. God has given us diversity within our spiritual giftedness to use for His glory. In the body of Christ there is unity but not uniformity and that should be celebrated! Our almighty God is a God of purpose, and there is purpose behind our differences. The local church functions best when its members, with different spiritual gifts, exercise those gifts in a way that honors Christ.
God’s grace extended to us should produce action within us for His church.
Questions to consider: Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Read Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:4–11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28. Feel free to talk with a pastor to learn more.
- Lord, thank You for Your grace and mercy in our lives. We praise You for enabling Your body with spiritual giftedness and diversity.
- We pray that Your church, Richland Creek, would be full of members of ONE body, where each believer utilizes their spiritual gifts given to them by Your grace, to edify the church.
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ— Ephesians 4:12
DAY 24 – GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”— Matthew 28:18–20
God gave Jesus full authority over heaven and earth. With that authority, the last words Jesus left the disciples with was to GO and make disciples in all nations through the good news of the gospel! Jesus was with them physically until His ascension into heaven, then with them spiritually through the Holy Spirit. Just imagine being one of the disciples for a moment. Not only did they have the awe-struck wonder of seeing Jesus after His resurrection, but they also had the blessing of hearing more instruction from Him one last time!
This command is not a command to just merely make decisions or converts, but through the power of the Holy Spirit, to make disciples of Jesus. The church body plays a great role in honoring this command through our obedience in praying, giving, and going as part of God’s will for the church.
Not all believers are called to cross cultural missions but all believers are called to live on mission. This can even occur in your own neighborhood, school, job, etc! God desires our obedience in making His name known both here and to the nations. He is worthy of praise, honor, and glory among all the peoples! This is the mission of the church.
Questions to consider:
Are you obedient to God’s command in being a disciple who makes disciples? If you are unsure of what that looks like, please talk to a pastor.
- Lord, thank You for Your timeless Word and Your instruction to be disciples who make disciples. We pray that this is what others will see in the body of Richland Creek as obedient followers of Your command.
- We pray for countless opportunities where Your name will be made known both here and to the nations through this body of believers.
If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.— John 14:15
DAY 25 – PROCLAIM THE EXCELLENCIES
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.— 1 Peter 2:9–10
What a glorious description of the church - our church! We are chosen, royal priests, holy, God’s own possession. This is our collective identity as the people of God, but this identity is set against the backdrop of who we once were. Before Christ, we were in darkness, without an identity, without mercy. We have a great story to tell about the great God who brought us into light, made us a people and has mercy upon us. This is our purpose as a church - that we would proclaim the excellencies of our Savior Jesus Christ. We must preach, teach, tell, write, and sing this story over and over. Let us pray that as a church we never stop declaring the glory of Jesus Christ to each other and to the world.
Questions to consider:
How can you help our church proclaim the excellencies of God? Do you talk about what Jesus has done in your life?
- Using today’s passage as a guide, praise God for what He has done in your life and who He has made us to be as the church.
- Pray that both individually and corporately we would be faithful to the mission of telling others about Christ.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!— Psalm 96:2–3
DAY 26 – ONE GOD, ONE LORD, ONE SPIRIT, ONE CHURCH
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.— Ephesians 4:1–3
Our hurried culture creates urgencies. For example, completing tasks as soon as possible. Yet, in rushing to complete tasks, we may alienate ourselves. If you want a task complete, do it yourself. We hope that peace will follow these completions, but it never comes or never lasts, for these urgent completions are focused only on temporal tasks.
In Ephesians, Paul gives Christians an urgency with eternal value—that is, the unity of the church. Unlike our worldly efforts to complete tasks on our own, this urgency cannot be satisfied when Christians are alienated from one another. Every Christian is called to model Christ in his or her own life, but the model does not stop there. Every Christian is called to model the unity found in our God within the church. This is what Paul calls for in Ephesians 4: One God, one Lord, one Spirit.
With the same God, Lord, and Spirit, unity ought to be natural, easy. However, this unity is one that is fought for and won by the church as a whole. A Christian cannot choose alienation and be united to the church. The battle for unity is won through humility, love, patience, and walking through hardships together. When Christians are eager to make this an urgency, the Spirit will bring peace.
Questions to Consider: How often do you place the completion of temporal tasks over eternal tasks? Do you fight for unity within our church or are you content to alienate yourself?
- Is there anyone in our church with whom you need to seek unity? Be eager to reconcile.
- Read and pray through 1 Corinthians 13, knowing that Paul is referring to the church, not an individual.
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.— 1 Peter 3:8–9
DAY 27 – THE MIND OF CHRIST
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.— 1 Cor. 2:14–16
New beginnings can be a wonderful thing. Many people seriously evaluate home organization skills, homeschooling methods, business practices, fire escape plans, and even relationships, etc. To be sure, those items that affect daily life do need some attention. But we often find our worth and value in them. Identity (or who we are) is easily tied to what we do, what we own, people we love (or who loves us), and even where we live.
Not so with the believer. Our identity is in Christ. That means that our worth, value, purpose and even citizenship is in Christ. As believers, we are to no longer find our identity in worldly things. God desires that we know who we are—In Him. And the way that I know who we are and know Christ Himself is to study His Word more.
You can know the mind of Christ. Not only that, 1 Corinthians 2:16 says that “you have the mind of Christ.” We as the church of the living God of the universe have the mind of Christ. How can that be? It can be because you have the Bible; you have the mind of Christ revealed to you in the form of Scripture. Therefore, jump in and read it daily. Meditate on it. Don’t be distracted by daily pressures of life. Make time to put Christ first in your day.
Questions to consider:
Do you realize you can know the mind of Christ by continually reading His Word?
- Ask the Lord to deliver you from distraction.
- Ask the Lord to help you set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (Col 3:2)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer.— Psalm 19:14
DAY 28 – BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO DWELL IN YOUR HOUSE
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!— Psalm 84:1–4
Psalm 84, often referred to as a Pilgrim Psalm, finds extraordinary delight in worshipping God. While the Psalmist longs for and journeys to the place of worship, it is God who is the object of his joy. It is the living God (v. 2) where the Psalmist finds his joy, strength and blessing.
Longing for God Himself, the author desires not just to be in “church” but also to be in the very presence of God. While many must be coaxed to church, here the writer is literally begging to be near God—to have a relationship with God. This intensity shines through again when he jealously points to the little birds who have built their homes right next to the place of worship—yes, even the very altar of God. As Christians, we are to be at home in Christ and His church. The author again stresses his passion by declaring, “My King and my God.” He is consumed by a desire to worship in God’s presence. Verse 4 declares that those who are in God’s house will continually praise Him.
Questions to consider:
New Testament saints are able to boldly approach God because of the work of Jesus on the cross, worshipping daily right where we find ourselves (Heb 4:14–16). Do you cultivate a deep desire to daily be in God’s presence? If you find your passion for praising God to be dwindling, renew that desire by daily spending time in His Word. Are you relying on God’s strength to make it through your daily life?
- Ask God for a heart that cries out to worship.
- Petition God to create in you a desire to read and study God’s Word and to “wait on the Lord” to “renew your strength” (Isaiah 40:31).
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.— James 4:8
DAY 29 – SERVE ONE ANOTHER THAT GOD MAY BE GLORIFIED
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.— 1 Peter 4:10–11
In these verses two important words need clarification: gift and service. Gift is an ability to do something. Abilities vary from person to person as well as the level of abilities. Serve means to aid, help, supply, or provide for others. Peter is explaining here that we, the members of God’s church, all have an ability to help, supply or provide for the needs and building up of others in the church.
Why is this so important for our church? To strengthen, encourage, and build up other members of the body. In this way, the church as a whole will be positioned to effectively carry out its mission of reaching, teaching, and discipling more people to the glory of God.
Don’t know your gifts? Serve in a variety of places and roles and see what you are good at, what you’re affirmed at, and if opportunities exist in this area. If all three line up, you’ve found your gift.
Questions to consider:
What are you doing to strengthen and encourage fellow believers in our church? What are your spiritual gifts? What can you do this week to discover and use your spiritual gifts?
- Read and pray over 1 Corinthians 12.
- Ask God for opportunities to serve in multiple areas of the church to discover your gifting.
To each has been given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.— 1 Cor. 12:7
DAY 30 – SALT & LIGHT
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.— Matthew 5:13–16
Jesus frequently uses everyday objects as a means of teaching important truths about people, the world and God’s kingdom. Salt and light serve as metaphors for what God’s people are to be and do in a decaying and dark world. Salt purifies and light illuminates. So it is to be with us. We, the body of believers, are to serve as ministers of the Gospel, proclaiming it to those who do not know Christ as Savior.
Friends, the church has work to do. Being people of love, grace and truth, we labor to “purify” a world of increasing corruption and evil. Similarly, as we shine the righteousness of Christ to the world, we draw unbelievers to God. Our lives in word and deed are to be lived not to draw people to ourselves but to point them to our heavenly Father. Simply stated, God has chosen us, His church, to be stewards of His good news.
Questions to consider:
Does your “light” shine in your home, workplace or neighborhood? What can you do to be salt and light today? What hinders you from being salt and light to those around you?
- Father, give me eyes to see everyday opportunities to be salt and light to those around me.
- Pray for God to place someone in your path today with whom you can share God’s truth.
- Father, cultivate an obedient heart within me that I may obey Your commands to proclaim Your Gospel and make disciples.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!— Psalm 96:3