Prayer Guides | Vol. 5, Days 10-20

    April 30, 2020 | Prayer Guides by Various Authors
    Day 11 – Seek His Will

    Read Jeremiah 29:13, James 4:8, Matthew 6:33 

    Scripture teaches us that our heart’s desire is for the Lord because we were made to be His. However, our sin—that is, the evil desires of our hearts—leads us away from God and chases the worldly desires of our flesh. James says, “Our worldly passions are at war within us” (James 4:1). We “ask for things but do not receive them because we ask wrongly spending it on our passions” (James 4:3). There it is! We don’t get what we want from God because we don’t ask for the correct things! Our motivation comes from lust, greed, and covetousness. These are not the things that bring honor and glory to God but rather passions that come from an evil heart bent on self. Paul writes in Romans 8:5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh.”  

    So how should we ask? How should we form our prayers for the benefit of our church? Jesus gives us the answer, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Of course, He is not talking about new cars, houses, or wealth. Jesus is saying that by seeking God’s will, we can be sure to receive God’s provisions. Why would God do this for us? He loves us through His grace and mercy. The extent of that love is summed up in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  

    Today let’s ask of God with a right motive. As a church, let’s pray that God’s will be done for Richland Creek. Let’s find God by seeking Him with all our hearts.

    Questions to consider:

    How can I come before God, asking Him correctly for the things that my heart truly desires? How can I look to seek God’s kingdom before my own needs are met?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God will help us to put away all lust, greed, and covetousness and seek Him and His kingdom with all our hearts.
    • Pray for one another as we struggle with our own worldly desires.
    • Pray that we draw closer to God and seek Him more than a new pastor. 

    And God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 

    Day 12 – Confess All Sin 

    Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

    Is there anything that God does not know about us? It’s no surprise to God that saved people still carry sin in their hearts, even sin that we are unaware of. Calvin writes, “David’s meaning simply is, that though he was a man subject to sin, he was not devotedly bent upon the practice of it.” Like King David, we should be praying to God daily to search our hearts for any unrighteousness. 

    Jesus said in Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” To the unbeliever this is of no consequence. To the believer it should bring us to our knees, seeking at every turn to avoid what we know is true—sin still dwells within us. 

    The struggle with sin will be with us for the rest of our lives. In Romans 7:18 Paul writes, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” What a relief it is that the Gospel tells us we have someone working on our behalf before God. He intercedes for us to the Father. Having been saved, we abide in Christ and He abides in us. God is also working in us, never allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). We always have a way to escape our sin. 

    Questions to consider:

    Is there anything in your heart, thoughts, or memory that would be an offense to God? Have we asked Him to reveal sin in our lives? Have we confessed our sin? 

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God would search your heart for any sin past, present or future.
    • Pray Psalm 66:18 Confess any hidden sin that you are holding on to.
    • Pray for others who may be struggling with unrepentant sin.
    • Praise God for His love, grace, and mercy because of Christ Jesus.

    Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25

    DAY 13 – Commit Passionately 

    To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lamp stands, says this: “I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Revelation 2:1-4

    Here we see a partial assessment of the early churches. We would be wise to heed the wisdom and warning.

    What an opportunity we have during our transition time and sheltering at home. It gives time to refocus both personally and as a Church. Maybe you’ve been able to purge the clutter at home. Clutter, the things you don’t really need or want, can allow you to lose focus on what matters. The process of ridding ourselves of clutter is usually a struggle; however, with diligence and cleanliness it is easily achieved.  

    How do we combat evil clutter in our spiritual lives? We have to remember how our relationship with Jesus first began; it was just you and He. You were taking your first steps to knowing more of Him; hopefully through a commitment to prayer, study, and worship, followed by serving, giving, and sharing the Gospel. A renewed zeal and focus in these areas are paramount to a healthy relationship going forward. 

    We can’t allow ourselves to be passive, personally or corporately. If Christ is worth anything, He’s worth everything! It’s impossible to please God from a neutral position. There is no middle ground for a faithful believer. 

    Questions to consider: 

    Have you assessed your walk with Christ lately? What does spiritual “clutter” look like in your life? What steps could you take to purge the clutter and refocus on your first love, Jesus?

    Prayer Prompts: 

    • Pray for consistency and focus on the Gospel in church ministry. 
    • Pray for God’s power to be upon our interim pastor and our staff.
    • Pray for protection from any spirit of being lukewarm or losing our first love. 
    • Pray for protection from the evil one and remind us that we serve Jesus.

    I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. Revelation 3:15 

    Day 14 – Community Minded 

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34 

    Community is a common word we use in churches today. It’s engraved in our very church’s name. Have you ever considered if we represent the word well? 

    A community should have devotion to live, support, and grow together. The point of this isn’t just to meet and connect on a Sunday morning. It is to move forward, to do life together. It isn’t based on proximity, but purpose. The best friendships are ones that help each other grow closer to Jesus.

    As we invest in discipleship with one another, we will begin to grow and reflect the love of Jesus. The commandment to love others isn’t reserved for inside the walls of church. His desire is for us to reach our geographic community with love. If we unite with purpose driven love, we will cultivate community with strong disciples that reach those far from God. 

    A quote to remember is “Saved people Serve people.” Our primary duty as a congregation is to represent the Gospel well—not just at church but also in the community surrounding us. 

    Questions to consider:

    Am I self-focused or Christ-focused with a desire to serve others? How can I help cultivate a community of Christ-centered love?

    Prayer Prompts

    • Pray for a miraculous sense of love and unity among all members of the church.
    • Pray for a surrender of all bitterness, division and anger within our church family.
    • Ask God to empower us to love one another with a patient, forgiving love.

    I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21 

    Day 15 – Walk in Unity 

    Now I plead with 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

    Richland Creek is in an unusual season. We are dealing with a time of transition and a global pandemic. We are not meeting together as we normally do, and that is difficult. How should we handle this? The verse above calls us to unity—unity of vision, unity of mission, and unity of call. 

    Paul reminds the Corinthians in verse 9 they are called by God to fellowship in Christ. Remember that nothing the Creek is enduring right now has taken Christ by surprise. Not this transition. Not this pandemic. So, what is to be our response? Be unified in mission, calling, doctrine, and prayer! Be a disciple that makes disciples! Not only does this not take God by surprise, He knows exactly what He is doing. He knows our struggles. He knows how this will shape and help us. He knows who is coming to pastor the Creek. Let us unify under His will and His wants! 

    Questions to consider:

    What wants and desires do I have for the future of the Creek that I need to surrender to the Lord? What preconceived ideas have I taken to the Lord, trying to sway His plan for the Creek?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for our own part in unity and for corporate unity in calling the new lead pastor.
    • Pray our church would receive him and his family with deep love. 
    • Pray for revival and spiritual awakening as we move into the future.  
    • Pray for unity, grace, and strength for the church that our new pastor will be leaving.
    Day 16 – Strive to Create Harmony

    I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:1-6

    Verse three uses the word “endeavor.” That word means “to exert oneself, make effort, or to labor.” We are called to work toward the unity of the Spirit, bearing with one another in love, with humility, and as Paul says, “worthy of the calling with which you were called.” 

    During this period of transition, we know that change is coming. New pastor. New ideas. We are called to endeavor toward unity in the Spirit. How? At the end of Ephesians 3 Paul states, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” We have to remember that the purpose of the church is to bring glory to Christ Jesus, to all generations, and that He is able to do far more than we can think or imagine. Think of the greatest thing that can happen at Richland Creek through this time. Now realize that through a unified body of believers, Christ can do so much more than that!!!

    Questions to consider:

    Am I working toward unity, or do any of my actions breed discontent? How would my spouse answer that? How would my pastors / life group leaders / ministry directors answer that? 

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for diligence in working toward unity, and for brothers and sisters at the Creek to mend any division within the body. 
    • Pray for unity of all ministries, focused on bringing glory to Christ in all endeavors.
    • Pray we would be prepared to make the necessary changes to embrace a new day of ministry. 

    Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

    Day 17 – Waiting on the Lord

    This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.” Lamentations 3:21–25

    To this day I can hear songs from high school, and remember every word. I can go back to that specific time and place, and remember who was there and exactly what was happening. And the funny thing is it really doesn’t matter what is happening in the present, that song will take me back to the past in a moment. 

    We can do the same, by choice, during tough times, only with a higher purpose. We can recall what the Lord has done for us, how much He loves us, how many times He shows us His love. We remember how He ultimately demonstrated His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Remember that childlike faith when you were newly saved? Remember that time when only God showing up could provide that specific need, and God showed up? 

    Why would we choose to dwell in uncertainty? Why not choose to recall that God’s mercies give us hope and His compassion never fails? He is good to those who wait on Him. He has shown us over and over that He wants the best for us, and that He is never late! Let us choose to wait on Him, and His chosen servant.

    Questions to consider:

    Am I surrendered to God’s timeline as we work toward God’s man coming to pastor Richland Creek? Am I stressed out wondering what is going on and how long will this take?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Philippians 4:6-7, Ask God to help me be anxious for nothing!
    • Jeremiah 29:11, God, help me remember You have a plan for us!
    • Proverbs 16:9, Father, we make our plans, but please God, directs our steps! 
    Day 18 – Bondservant of Christ

    Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11

    Let’s define a few words.

    Conceit: vain glory, or empty pride. 

    Lowliness of mind: a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness. 

    Bondservant: someone devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests.

    As we look to the future, and seek a pastor to come and lead the Creek, we will find it within ourselves to want what we want. Maybe it’s a pastor who looks a certain way, or who doesn’t look a certain way. Maybe we like a particular accent, or not. Maybe he preaches a certain way, from a certain version of Scripture, from a particular seminary, with specific degrees. Scripture calls this empty pride. In other words, I want what I want, how I want it, and when I want it! Rather, Scripture tells us we are to humble ourselves. We are to devote ourselves to Christ, and His desires for the Creek. We are to get out of our own way and submit ourselves to the will of Christ for the future of His church.

    Questions to consider:

    Am I a bondservant, with the mind of Christ? Have I sought God’s will for my life, my ministry, and this church as a whole? Or am I demanding what I want, when I want it?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that we all will be bondservants to Christ. That we will surrender our will to His, setting aside our individual expectations for the new pastor and decide in unity who God is calling to the Creek. 
    • Pray that the man God is calling to the Creek will surrender to the will of Christ and follow that call.

    Day 19 – Aligning your Desires with His

    Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

    Some churches struggle with wanting a pastor who is like their previous pastor. Others desire someone who is just the opposite. Pray that all would be receptive to God’s direction in doing a new thing in the congregation and accept His perfect will above our own desires. 

    We know God has a plan, and it is perfect for His will to be done. We need to align our desires to His will in all things. That is easier said than done. However, when we rest in Him and follow the examples of our Lord and Savior Jesus we become more aligned with His will. Let’s align ourselves with the Word of God and be guided by it daily.

    In Isaiah 46:10, we learn God’s counsel will stand and His purpose will be accomplished. Let’s align our hearts and desires to it. “Declaring the end from the beginning and the from ancient times, things not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isaiah 46:10). 

    Questions to consider:

    Am I seeking God’s plan or my personal desire for a new senior pastor? Am I praying for the Pastor Search Team to seek God’s counsel and supporting them wholeheartedly?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • God, give wisdom to our Pastor Search Team. May their heart’s desires be aligned with your will, and may we, the church, come alongside them and support and encourage them to glorify you.
    • Pray we all would be receptive to God’s doing a new thing in the congregation and accept His perfect will above our own desires. 

    “Real prayer is communion with God, so that there will be common thoughts between His mind and ours. What is needed is for Him to fill our hearts with His thoughts and then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him.” - Arthur W. Pink  

    Day 20 – Submit to Authority 

    Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning. For that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. Hebrews 13:17-18

    The author of Hebrews commands us to obey and submit to our leaders in verse 17. Earlier in the chapter he reminds us how they hold to the Word and that we are to be imitators of their faith in Jesus. God has sovereignly placed Word-driven leaders in our lives. They not only guide us and point us to Jesus, but also protect us from false doctrines and “wolves” that would seek to destroy. 

    When we willingly obey and submit to our leader’s authority it produces joy and not strife or groaning. It brings function and unity to the body. This authority comes at a price; for they will have to give an account before God for those they led. Therefore, let us encourage them, pray for them, and be patient with them. Let us respect and honor their choices in regard to the Pastor Search Team and the direction of Richland Creek.

    Questions to consider:

    Am I submitting to the authorities God has placed in my life? Am I encouraging, praying for, and honoring those who are leading me and pointing me to Christ? Do I bring joy to my pastors and leaders, or do I selfishly complain?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that the church as a whole would trust the Pastor Search Team through the process of finding a new lead pastor.
    • Pray the congregation would trust the Pastor Search Team is being led by the Spirit as they search for the man God is bringing to Richland Creek, and there will be no division.