Prayer Guides | Vol. 5, Days 1-9

    April 30, 2020 | Prayer Guides by Various Authors
    DAY 1 – Connected to Christ

    I am the vine: you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

    As we think of our Pastor Search Team, the Elders are looking for spiritually mature individuals who can represent the Creek well in the selection of a new pastor. Obedience to Christ will be key. As true disciples of Christ they must bear much fruit for God’s Kingdom. They are dependent on and know, without a shadow of a doubt, they cannot separate themselves from God.

    A key word that stands out in this verse is abide. In John 15:1-17, abide is used over 10 times. When Jesus states that we are to abide in Him, He means to remain or stay focused on Him and all that He has taught us about being his disciples. John also writes that God will cut away that which does not bear good fruit and will prune that which produces good fruit, so more good fruit will be produced.

    As our Pastor Search Team is being selected and go out in search of a new pastor for Richland Creek, may they allow God to cut away what is harmful, but also prune them to grow daily in their walk with Christ. God did not say there are some things you can do apart from Him; He said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Nothing means nothing. Though we are focusing on the Pastor Search Team, we all should reflect on our personal walk and how we can abide in Jesus.

    Questions to consider:

    What struggles do I have when it comes to leaning on Jesus? When I need assistance with something, do I ask Jesus to help me, or does pride get in the way of His blessings?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that our Pastor Search Team will abide in Christ.
    • Pray that our Pastor Search Team will be filled with the Spirit.
    • Pray that the Pastor Search Team will cleanse their hearts of any struggles and focus on Christ.

    If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18

    DAY 2 – Spiritual Wisdom

    And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9

    Paul is with some fellow brothers in Christ, and we learn their names in chapter 4. They are overflowing with joy and prayer about the good news they have heard regarding the faithfulness, growth, and fruit that is transpiring in Colossae. Paul and his companions are in constant prayer for their new brothers and sisters in Christ, not only for their new and growing faith in Christ, but also for their continued growth in the knowledge of His will.

    This knowledge is not just a knowledge one gains by reading a book or through wisdom of time. This knowledge, as one commentator wrote, is super knowledge. A knowledge that can only be given by the Lord. A knowledge that is precise and correct.

    Oh that our Pastor Search Team will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will and not their own will or understanding. As we pray for this knowledge, we are also praying that we and others will have submission to our Lord. Through submission and abiding in Christ (like we prayed yesterday), we and this team will be filled with spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding of what our King will have us do.

    Questions to consider:

    Have you prayed for the knowledge of God’s will for your life, or are you running after your own will? Are there times in your life when you know that the knowledge you have is from God and not something you have gained on your own?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that the Pastor Search Team will be filled with the knowledge of God’s will for Richland Creek Community Church.
    • Pray that the team will be filled with wisdom and understanding that only God can provide.
    • Pray that the spiritual maturity and wisdom the Pastor Search Team portrays, is that which can only be given by the Lord, through the prayer of His church.

    We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. Colossians 1:3

    DAY 3 – Unified in the Spirit

    Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3

    Unity of the Spirit is something, as believers, we should have when it comes to working and being eager to accomplish tasks for the Kingdom. Notice we are called to “maintain” the unity of the Spirit and not to “create” a unity of the Spirit. Tony Merida, in the commentary “Christ-Centered Exposition, Exalting Jesus in Ephesians,” states that God unites us, and we are to seek to maintain unity by the help of the Holy Spirit. This eagerness is given by the Spirit for us to dive into and to maintain what has already been given by God. All of this is held in the bond of peace. The term “bond” is that which binds us together. It is the ligaments by which the members of the human body are united together. To put it into perspective, it’s that close (inner) identity that produces harmony between members joined together. It’s the Body of Christ. This spirit of peace has wholeness to it—a sense of harmony when all essential parts are joined together.

    As God puts the Pastor Search Team together, maintaining unity through the Spirit is key. It is necessary for a smooth and busy time of reviewing resumes, choosing individuals to interview, interviewing those individuals, presenting individuals to the Elder Body and finally the presenting of them to the church. This team will be a part of a lengthy process that requires a unity that can only be of God. Remember, this is not by chance (Amos 3:3), but rather a divine matter that is led by the Spirit.

    Questions to consider:

    Do you see yourself unified with the church body? How can your unity with the church body bring a bond of peace? What does a bond of peace look like within the community of believers?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for a powerful unity within the Pastor Search Team.
    • Pray that the oneness in Spirit will be shining bright through the process.

    Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

    DAY 4 – Kingdom Focused

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

    In the verses leading up to Isaiah 55:8-9, the writer is asking us to seek the Lord while He can be found and to forsake our wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts. God is saying we are wicked and unrighteous. Our ways and thoughts are evil; God’s ways and thoughts are holy and exalted. His are above anything we can imagine, yet they are plainly written in His Word. It is not out of pride that God is speaking this way, for that would be evil. He is speaking this way for us to focus on the things that are above, and not the circumstances that take our focus off of Him.

    Our Pastor Search Team could face hard times when it comes to the direction, or the path they are following when looking for a lead pastor. They could face challenges when choosing between different people who are qualified for the position. This is a team that has been specifically chosen by the elder body. Together, they will keep focused on the things that are above and not on their personal desire. As an individual, it is easy to walk down the wrong path, but as a team, may they walk strong in the strength of the Lord.

    Questions to consider:

    Is the path you are walking the path of the Lord’s will or your own? How can we keep ourselves on the right path and maintain heavenly thoughts? Are there evil thoughts or ways that you need to repent of and turn over to God?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for God’s clear direction on how resumes are examined.
    • Pray for a clear path on how to conduct the interviews of potential pastors.
    • Ask that God will bring the right person to the attention of the team and that person is right now being prepared to come to Richland Creek.

    For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12

    DAY 5 – Spirit Filled Conversations

    Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-16

    We see the Spirit mentioned in this passage over six times. Only a few times is it referenced to the spirit of this world. The Spirit of God is that which guides us and convicts us. We read that we receive from the Spirit of God the ability to understand things given by God. This understanding is wisdom. In verse 13 we see this contrast between worldly wisdom and Godly wisdom. We can compare this to yesterday’s understanding of God’s ways and our ways. One way is holy; the other is evil. God, in all He does, is holy and exalted.

    As our Pastor Search Team sits down with prospective pastors, there are truthful conversations that are going to happen. These conversations are going to be carried on by the Spirit of God to bring clarity, truth, and understanding to our team and to the prospective pastors also. We want conversations to be glorifying to God. Not only so the team knows that the person sitting before them is our next lead pastor, but that the prospective pastor knows this as well. We need to be honest and up front with the prospective pastor. He must be up front and honest as well. This can only happen when our people are leaning completely on the Spirit, relying on His guidance. His truth will show through.

    Questions to consider:

    Are the conversations we have with people related to God’s Word and truth? Does the Spirit lead them? What actions can we take to make sure our conversations are reliant on the Holy Spirit and His leading?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that the search team will have God’s wisdom in all the information they share.
    • Pray that the prospective lead pastor’s questions are answered with Godly wisdom.
    • Pray that nothing but truth is exchanged between the prospective pastor and the Pastor Search Team.

    Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13

    DAY 6 – Seeking Discernment

    If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by wind. James 1:5-6

    James provides these words as part of his Spirit-inspired instructions on how to face trials. As Richland Creek navigates trying times in its search for a new lead pastor, we should not lean, nor do we have to lean, on our own ability to face such a trial. A Pastor Search Team is put together to biblically determine who God has called to be the next lead pastor of Richland Creek. By God’s grace and through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the search team, and all of us as the body of Christ, have access to God to obtain wisdom. When we ask faithfully, God loves us enough to give us the wisdom we need “without reproach,” meaning we can never ask too often and He will never hold such a request against us.

    The search team will need this wisdom to glorify God in their search and choosing of the next lead pastor. They will need to know what the biblical characteristics of a lead pastor are and what they look like. They should be able to discern if the characteristics are genuine in the man they choose. Man’s solutions will always be insufficient. But God is gracious in revealing His will through His Word and answers to faithful prayer.

    Questions to consider:

    What does your prayer for your church’s leadership look like? Do you pray for those who lead, serve and minister to the church body? Do you know what the characteristics of an “Overseer” and “Deacon” are, and do you pray for them to grow and flourish in your church’s leadership? Is the leadership team a part of your prayer calendar at all?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for the Pastor Search Team to have, and be in constant prayer for, the wisdom and discernment God gives to those who seek it faithfully.
    • Pray specifically for the qualifications of the men who desire the position and that these Godly characteristics are found in our next lead pastor (1 Timothy 3).

    Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13

    DAY 7 – God’s Timing

    Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17

    King David wanted to build a temple for his Lord. His intentions appeared to be pure and even the prophet Nathan agreed with David that it was a reasonable idea. He tells him, “Go and do all that is in your heart (2 Samuel 7).” David’s heart was concerned with what he could do for God. God had even called David “a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet God, in regard to the temple, tells David “No.” How could this be? Any decision made without seeking God’s will, even decisions we make that we say are for God, are not glorifying God, but ourselves. God would have His temple built, but it was by the one He chose and in the time frame He chose.

    Sometimes we think we know what is best with the best of intentions, but it is possible to sinfully serve the body of Christ. It is no accident that Paul, after pleading with the Roman church in Romans 12:1 to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God...” tells them “be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” It is important that God’s will be the focus of the Pastor Search Team and that the decision is made recognizing that the church belongs to the Lord. While we all, including the search team, have some idea in mind of how long the process should take, we must submit to God’s timing.

    Questions to consider:

    How often does a plea for the will of God to be done show up in your prayers? Do you pray for your own local church and the church as a whole to be focused on glorifying God first?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for the Pastor Search Team to be constantly renewed by God’s Word to understand His will for the church.
    • Pray for the Pastor Search Team to be in humble submission to the perfect will and perfect timing of God.

    Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14  

    DAY 8 – Being on Guard

    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-12

    Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are in a battle, a spiritual battle. As we see throughout Scripture “the devil is a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). The devil is vigilant and persistent with his hierarchy of demons to bring the most destructive purposes to those created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), especially those who are followers of Jesus Christ.

    During this time our church must be on guard against any influence from Satan. The enemy wants nothing more than to see division among the church and for us to fall weak during this time of transition. It is important for us to remember that this is a spiritual battle and not one of flesh. We must fight this battle with spiritual warfare. Not just some of us, but all of us must be devoted to prayer for protection and provision around the search team and that all would be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. We must remember that we cannot battle on our own. Jesus has already won the victory, having disarmed principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15), and now that same victory can be ours through our Lord. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” God’s strength is available to those who trust in Him. In Psalm 20:7 David writes, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

    Questions to consider:

    Am I praying for the protection of those making decisions for the church? Through these spiritual battles, am I trusting in my own strength or God’s?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for the prevention of Satan’s influence in misleading or rushing the search team. (One of Satan’s tactics is deception.)
    • Pray for a powerful hedge of protection around the team and their families.  
    DAY 9 – Being a Team Player

    Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.1 Corinthians 1:10

    Have you ever seen a rowing team perform? They are in perfect rhythm, perfect accord; they all have the same purpose and goal. Without such unity, they would be off course and never reach their destination or goal. The same should be the mindset of the congregation in the church. “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5-6).

    As a church we have been called to bond in unity. We have been called to uplift, encourage, serve, love, and pray not only for one another but also for those who have been placed in authority within the church. The search team must not only seek unity amongst themselves, but the need to be surrounded by the unity of the church body.

    Questions to consider:

    Are you praying for unity within in the church and the decisions that are being made during this transition? Are you submitting to the will of God? Or, are you putting your wants above God’s will?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for God’s guidance in how the future pastor is presented to the church.
    • Pray that there would be no division among the Pastor Search Team or the congregation. Pray for unity.

    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Acts 2:1