Prayer Guides | Vol. 5, Days 21-30

    April 30, 2020 | Prayer Guides by Various Authors
    Day 21 – To Have Passion and Boldness

    I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

    Earlier in this letter, Paul affirmed for Timothy God as the source of Scripture and Scripture’s usefulness (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In Matthew, Jesus says the Word of God is the source of man’s spiritual life. Since the Word of God is holy, the matter of preaching the Word is no small thing. Using courtroom language in 2 Timothy 4:1, Paul testifies of these truths to Timothy and all future pastors.

    We can only love and desire the Word by God’s grace. The world will reject it. And even Christians, at times, will struggle to desire it when it convicts. The temptation exists for a pastor to appease us. A pastor faces the world that hates the Word, and generations that call themselves Christians, but deny truth. He faces his ego, pressure to put numbers above God’s Word, and pressure to not offend. When a pastor gives in and carries this weight with him to the pulpit, he no longer preaches the Word of God, but his own version of truth, attempting to make everyone happy.

    A lead pastor who loves the Word will know to leave that weight at the foot of cross, will make no compromises to truth, and will preach and teach it in the face of affliction, suffering, or persecution. As believers, we need Scripture and the gospel preached boldly by a man who loves God more than he fears man.

    Questions to consider:

    What are the qualities you look for in a lead pastor? Do you listen to walk away feeling better or to expand your understanding of the object of your faith, Jesus Christ?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God would increase our next lead pastor’s passion for preaching the Word of God.
    • Pray that our next lead pastor will boldly proclaim the truth without compromise.  
    Day 22 – To Have Christ-like and Discernment

    I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:3-11

    Most of us would not choose “joy” as the word we would use to describe how time in prison must feel. Yet, here, Paul is writing to the Philippians from a Roman jail, and he only writes one sentence before he mentions his joy. He is joyous due to their partnership in the gospel, as partakers of the same grace. Paul is confident enough to call on God as a witness to this truth as seen in a paraphrased portion of this Scripture by Adam Clarke: “I call God to witness that I have the strongest affection for you, and that I love you with that same kind of tender concern with which Christ loved the world when He gave Himself for it.”

    This is what we should desire for our lead pastor: that he would love the church and his congregation like Christ does. We should desire he would find joy in serving and partnering with the body of Christ in the gospel, a joy that he could attest before God even in the worst of situations. We should desire that our next lead pastor seek the will of God in leaving another church body, and possibly a home, to serve in this new role. He and his family must make this decision for God’s glory first and foremost.

    Questions to consider:

    Where does our ultimate source of joy come from? Would you consider yourself joyful? Do you seek joy for yourself and pray for it for others?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God would give our next lead pastor a love for our church and strength to leave his current position.
    • Pray that God would make His will known to our next lead pastor and his family.
    DAY 23 – To Have Fervency and Perseverance

    Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Romans 12:9-13

    Have you ever done anything that you were just boiling over with excitement about and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next? Paul, in Romans 12:9-13, tells believers that the Christian life should have that boiling, fervent spirit. MacArthur says it should be “plenty of heat to produce adequate, productive energy, but not so much heat that one goes out of control.” A passion for the Gospel and living a life of Christ-likeness should engulf every believer.

    As we look at characteristics for a lead pastor: fervency, zeal, and energy for God and His people need to be very evident in his life. His focus should passionately be God’s glory through loving God and loving others.

    Does it mean he won’t get tired or face trials? No. In fact, Paul addresses that by urging perseverance through tribulations. One who is devoting to prayer, rejoicing in the hope we have in Christ, and giving of themselves to serve others will find strength and energy that can only come from God. Careful though, this zeal, this “boiling spirit” can and should be contagious. We should be fueled by our pastor’s fervency to love God and love people.

    Questions to consider:

    Do I have a “boiling spirit” for the Gospel and Jesus? Do I get energized in my walk when I see my pastor’s zeal? How can I come alongside my pastors to help energize them for the sake of the Gospel?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God would cause our lead pastor to be devoted to constant prayer.
    • Pray that God would give our lead pastor fervency and passion for ministry.
    • Pray that God would cultivate a deep perseverance within our new lead pastor.  
    DAY 24 – To Know and Do God’s Will

    Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

    What are you going to do when you grow up? Many of us were asked that when we were younger (some of us still get asked that from time to time). Mostly our answer was, “I don’t know.” Often our answer to “What is God’s will?” is the same …”I don’t know.” Paul, however, tells us that we can prove what the will of God is. How? We “present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” He goes on to tell us what that looks like. Paul says not to act like the world, but to be transformed by renewing your mind. This renewal only happens through the Holy Spirit, prayer, and the continual study of God’s Word. To know and prove God’s will is to study, know, and live out His Word.

    How can our lead pastor know God’s will for himself, his family, and our church body? He passionately studies the Word of God and allows the Holy Spirit to renew his mind through his study. To lead in a manner, holy and acceptable to God, he will sacrifice himself for the sake of knowing and doing God’s will. His life will not show conformity to the things of this world, but reflect a pursuit of the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

    Questions to consider:

    Have you presented yourself as a living sacrifice, laying aside worldly pursuits? Do you allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind by studying God’s Word deeply? Is God’s will important to you?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God would cause our lead pastor to be devoted to constant Bible Study.
    • Pray that God would give our lead pastor clear direction and calling to lead our church according to the will of God.
    • Pray that God would bring certainty to our lead pastor and his family as they seek His will together.  
    DAY 25 – To Find Strength in Weakness

    And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

    In the hills of California is a certain seed; in fact, there are potentially millions of these seeds. They seem weak and unresponsive due to their hardened shell that keeps them from growing. However, as fire rips through the mountainside, the pressure and intense heat of the destructive blaze breaks open the seed’s shell, allowing the Fire Poppy to take root and spring forth. The poppy not only brings refreshed beauty to a desolate land, but also nourishes and strengthens the ground to enable great growth. Its perceived weakness becomes great strength and refreshment.

    As Paul wrote 2 Corinthians, he realized a similar beauty. He begged for his weaknesses to be taken away. God’s response ...”My grace is sufficient...” It was then Paul realized the true beauty of his weakness. It was through his infirmity, trials, and difficulties that the grace and strength of Christ could shine through. Through Christ’s strength he was able to lead the church.

    No one is perfect. We all have significant weaknesses. How do we embrace them? Is it with frustration and anxiety or with contentment, knowing that the power of Christ dwells within us? A lead pastor is one who acknowledges his weaknesses yet allows the power of Christ to strengthen him as he leads. He knows God’s grace is sufficient for all of life.

    Questions to consider:

    Do we sulk in our weaknesses and trials? Do we find contentment in the grace poured out on us by Jesus? How can I come alongside my pastors in their weakness and boast in the power of Christ?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that God would allow our lead pastor to know his weaknesses and to allow Christ into those weaknesses so His strength may shine through.
    • Pray that God would bring contentment in His grace to the church that our lead pastor is leaving.
    • Pray they would embrace the vacancy in such a way that the strength of Christ can be seen in their transition.
    • Pray that God would spur us all to grow fully content in the sufficiency of His grace.
    DAY 26 – To Be Dedicated to God’s Word

    This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:8-9

    As we read these verses, it is plain to see that God is commanding Joshua to be a man deeply dedicated to the Word of God. This command comes as part of a commissioning to lead Israel into the Promise Land. Moses has passed on and Joshua is now the one who will guide God’s people. It won’t be easy. He faces difficult battles and decisions to be made in those battles. God knows this, so He reminds Joshua of His promises: Study My Word. Be strong. Be courageous. I am with you! Wherever you go, I am with you!

    A lead pastor should definitely be a man dedicated to the Word. He meditates on it. He memorizes it. He draws his strength and courage from God through His Word. His delight is the presence of God as he dwells in the Word.

    Psalm 1:1-2 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

    Questions to Consider:

    Are we a people of the Word? If so, am I meditating on His Word daily? Do I try to take control of things myself rather than turning to the Lord in reliance upon Him?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that our future pastor is a passionate man of the Word.
    • Pray that our future pastor meditates daily on the Word of God.
    • Pray that his delight in the Word would give him strength and courage.
    DAY 27 – To be Fully Dependent on God

    And He said to His disciples, For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? If you cannot do a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Luke 12:22-26

    Worry is very destructive. The word anxious in Luke 12:22 means: “to be torn apart.” By allowing worry and anxiety to take hold in our lives, it tears us apart. Worry is also quite deceptive, giving us a false view of life. Worry can convince us that life is made up of what we eat and what we wear. We get so consumed with the means that we forget about the end, which is to glorify God in all that we do. Worry will blind us to the way God cares for all His creation. The Lord here in these verses is encouraging us to trust and rely solely upon Him.

    As we think about the important decisions our future pastor and his family must make, stress and worry can easily accompany them. However, if their reliance is completely on the One who sustains them, they will see that their value is far greater than the birds. We as the church should make ourselves available as instruments in the hands of the Sustainer, ready to care for the ones He sends us.

    Questions to consider:

    Are there things causing worry and stress in my life? Has that worry and stress taken my focus off God and placed it on myself? Have I taken it to the Lord in prayer? How can I join with the church body to care for our pastors?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that any worry and anxiousness felt by our future lead pastor and his family would all be given to the Lord through prayer.
    • Pray for a comfort and a peace that surpasses all understanding with all decisions being made by our future lead pastor and his family.
    • Pray that the future lead pastor and his family have a smooth transition to Richland Creek.
    DAY 28 – To Watch Over the Flock

    Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28

    In Acts 20, Paul urges the elders of the Ephesian church to be on guard. False teaching, false doctrines, “fierce wolves” as Jesus would put it, all seek to destroy sound Biblical truth. The elders must guard against this. They must first be willing to self-examine their own walk. How does their own life compare to the truth of Scripture? Effective ministry is not a mere outward activity; it is the overflow of a deep, personal relationship with God and a passion for the truth of His Word.

    The elders are then called to guard the flock, the people placed under their authority and direction. Flock, shepherd, and wolves are all terms that bring the idea of hard work, sweat, and vigilance. As shepherds, our lead pastor and elders will feed, care for, and guard the flock, a flock that holds great value, purchased by the blood of Jesus. As shepherds, they do not stand on the outside looking in, but are in the midst, proactively working with and guarding the believers in their care.

    Questions to Consider: Am I guarding myself? Am I consistently examining my walk with Christ and pressing it up against Scripture? Am I submissive to the authority and protection of our elders?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray that our future lead pastor has a love and desire to protect the congregation.
    • Pray we would come alongside him and his family – praying for their needs of friendship, housing, schooling, etc. as they settle in.
    • Pray for the stresses of their transition.
    • Pray the new pastor and his family would feel at home at Richland Creek.

    “A minister may fill pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more.” - John Owen  

    DAY 29 – Pastor’s Wife to be a Faithful Companion

    Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:25-28

    Earlier in Psalm 73, evildoers seem to have it easy, while the faithful struggle. Yet, time in communion with God gave the Psalmist an eternal perspective of the truth of God’s goodness – a viewpoint we may pray specifically over our pastor’s wife.

    True knowledge and worship of God leads to other desires paling in comparison to our yearning to be near Him. The very presence of God is to be a peace giving sanctuary – for our pastor’s family and each Christian. To shelter in Him gives strength, satisfaction, and sustaining grace like no other relationship could.

    The things of this world will fail, but our eternal God never does. He is our rock and our salvation. What hope we have from our good, always near God! May we declare the best place to be is walking with the Lord, sheltered by His might.

    Questions to consider:

    Do I cherish God above all else? Do I view my time with Him as dwelling in a refreshing sanctuary? Could God call me anywhere and I be content in Him?

    Prayer Prompts:

    While realizing our next pastor may not be married or may be a widower, pray for his wife should he be married:

    • That God would be her greatest treasure and comfort.
    • Her relationship with God would encourage her husband, doing him good. (Proverbs 31:12)
    • God would give her strength as her husband’s helper (Genesis 2:18).
    • God would protect their marriage and strengthen their unity.
    • God would grant her peace through the transition.
    • Our church body would embrace their family well.
    DAY 30 – Pastor’s Wife to be a Godly Example

    Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Titus 2:3-5

    Though these verses specifically address women, the surrounding verses 1-8 and the use of the word “likewise” reveals many of the same general expectations of men and women. All of the characteristics are to be rooted in and flowing from sound doctrine.

    In verse 3, we see God’s expectations of more mature women. However, when we look at verses 4-5, we realize the older women cannot teach the younger women something they do not already know and do. So, even though some characteristics are age-specific, these are all aims of Godly character as women grow in Christ-likeness.

    What does a maturing woman look like? She exhibits surrender to the Lord by being dignified, honest, self-controlled, a good caregiver of her family, blameless, marked by kindness and respect, teachable, and a trainer of other women in these things. Her “why” is important. This is not for her recognition. She embodies these traits so God is honored and the gospel goes forth.

    Questions to consider:

    Is God’s glory my chief aim? Do others observe these characteristics in me? In which area do I struggle the most? Am I intentionally coming alongside someone younger for his or her spiritual good?

    Prayer Prompts:

    While realizing our next pastor may not be married or may be a widower, pray for his wife should he be married:

    • God would be glorified as she radiates Christ-likeness.
    • God would provide her with deep Godly relationships with women.
    • God would give her joy in the use of her spiritual gift.
    • She would be a source of stability for her family during this time of transition.
    Extra Day – Unified with Staff and Church Family

    Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity. Psalm 133:1

    It is always difficult to step into a leadership role from the outside. It’s just as difficult for a group of people, who have been working together for years, to invite someone new to lead them. As believers, however, there is a unity that already binds us together. We are all family in Christ. We are brothers and sisters who are bound to the common goals—Love God and Love People. This is how we differ from the rest of culture. This bond is what gives us strength and the ability to truly enjoy the goodness of unity.

    Ephesians 4:3 “to be diligent to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”

    As our future lead pastor comes to work alongside our other pastors, elders, deacons and ministry leaders, we must be diligent to preserve unity. We must be diligent to maintain the bond of peace that is only found through Christ Jesus. Through unity and the bond of family, the church leadership will be able to unite and guide us with the wisdom that only God can grant, guarded by a peace that only He can give.

    Questions to consider:

    Is there anything in my life that would cause disunity among the brethren? Am I thankful for my church family? How may I better pursue unity?

    Prayer Prompts:

    • Pray for a spirit of unity amongst the future lead pastor and all leadership within the church.
    • Pray for humble hearts, unity, wisdom, and peace amongst the church body.
    • Praying for revival in the hearts of the church family.