10 Ways to Pray for the Future of Our Church

10 Ways to Pray for the Future of Our Church

10 WAYS TO PRAY FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CHURCH

Over the past weekend, we celebrated 75 years of ministry at Mission Hills Church. We looked back on the people, places, and programs God used throughout the history of this church to continue to grow his kingdom and show his faithfulness to this church. We have a firm foundation to build upon as we move forward.

Our reflection can also help us look forward toward what God wants to do next. He’s done incredible things through Mission Hills and he’s not done yet. We want to be certain that we don’t get ahead of God with our own plans and hopes for the future, though. One of the best ways that we can ensure we’re following God instead of hoping he’ll put his blessing on our preferences and plans is to pray.

Take a moment today to pray for each one of these areas of our church:

1 // Pray for the children in our kids ministry

God, speak to each child personally and powerfully during this time. Plant seeds of faith and initiate a relationship with every kid that comes into our kid’s ministry—from the babies to the fifth graders. Show me how I can be part of the answer to this prayer.

2 // Pray for the students in our middle school and high school ministry

God, make your presence know to the students in our kids ministry. Meet them where they are, especially in the places of confusion and questioning that teenage years can bring. Show them their identity in you and help them make their faith their own. Build them into the leaders of the next generation.

3 // Pray for those who are single

God, thank you for your good gift of singleness. Remind the single people in our church that they are loved, gifted, and a gift to our church as a whole. Create in them an excitement to serve and lead in our church and in the world through their example of lives characterized by care for others.

4 // Pray for those who are parents

God, thank you for the good gift of families and marriages. Remind the parents in our church to value and cherish their children, even in the tough moments of parenting, and to not allow them to become idols or sources of one’s identity. Give them grit and wisdom, enabling them to know how to model faithfulness, teach fearlessness, and fight for the intentional sanctification of their families.

5 // Pray for those served at the Life Center

God, thank you for the opportunity to serve some of “the least of these” in tangible ways through the Life Center. Let each of the areas of service show those in our community who you are and give them a concrete example of your love for them. Help us make more room in our church to welcome those who have come to the Life Center but have not yet come into a relationship with you.

6 // Pray for our volunteers

God, thank you for all the volunteers who selflessly give of their time to contribute to your mission. Remind each of them that their contribution to our church is not only important but indispensable. Thank you for the way you have gifted every believer to take part in your mission through the local church. Reveal to me how I can use my gifts to serve your people and the world.

7 // Pray for our church staff

God, thank you the staff at Mission Hills—past and present—and for their commitment to creating a space for God to continue to transform lives. Give them wisdom and endurance in their ministries at Mission Hills. Strengthen their relationships with those they are serving and those they serve alongside.

8 // Pray for our elders

God, thank you for the elders who help lead our church. Give them insight into where you want to lead Mission Hills in the future. Give them boldness and perseverance in enacting your vision for our church. Grow them in leadership, humility, wisdom, and integrity as they serve our church as a whole.

9 // Pray for our community

God, help us open our doors even wider for those who do not yet know you. Help each of us remember that we’re on mission in this community—whether we’re in the grocery store or at work. Give us eyes to see the needs of our community and make our hearts and hands ready to meet them. Help us prepare a place in our church for our community to meet Jesus and to discover a place to belong.

10 // Pray for your heart

God, show me how you would like me to join God’s mission at Mission Hills Church and in our community. Help me prioritize my live in a way that shows you are my God. Reveal to me how you have gifted me and how you want me to use those gifts to serve your church. Fill me with hope and give me faith to follow you forward even when I do not know what the future holds.

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How to Transform Your Prayer Life

How to Transform Your Prayer Life

HOW TO TRANSFORM YOUR PRAYER LIFE

Most Christians want to pray, but they just simply don’t—myself included sometimes. And I believe most Christians really want to be passionate about prayer, but they just aren’t. Why is that?

Is it because prayer is boring? At least that is the way most of us experience it. Are you praying the same things in the same way and, as a result, getting distracted? If you are like me, you regularly catch your mind wandering, thinking about that project at work or your next snack. Prayer may have become a useless formality, like mindlessly reciting the pledge of allegiance. Jesus warns against praying like this:

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” | Matthew 6:7

So, you find prayer is boring or you’re stuck in a mind-numbing cycle of repetition, what is the solution? The answer is simple: PRAY THE BIBLE.

Pray the Bible

In the Bible we find our vocabulary for prayer. The Psalms were written as prayers and Jesus and his followers modeled this kind of prayer for us (Matthew 27:46; Acts 4:24-26). This heritage of praying the scriptures has been passed down for thousands of years, but many of us simply don’t pray this way. Instead of coming up with your own things to pray and words to speak, read through a passage of the Bible and allow God to give you what to pray for and how to pray it.

The easiest place to start is in the Psalms. Pick a psalm and work through each verse.

For an example, let’s look at Psalm 1:1-2:

“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

With this passage you might pray the Lord gives you strength to turn from ungodly counsel. A situation may come to mind where you are being tempted to follow “the counsel of the wicked,” so you ask God to give you wisdom and courage to resist. You might also spend time specifically interceding for family and friends, that they would avoid such destructive paths. Once you have prayed all that comes to mind, move to the next verse. The second verse may prompt you to praise God and ask him to give you a desire for the scriptures.

When you are done praying one verse, or nothing specific comes to mind, move to the next verse. When you finish praying through a psalm, move to another if you have time.

Thy Will Be Done

Since the Bible is the primary way God speaks to his children, it makes sense we would use it as the vocabulary for our prayers. When you pray this way, something exciting happens. Prayer becomes fresh and powerful. You no longer have to worry about whether or not you are praying God’s will. When you pray his words, you pray his will. Praying the scriptures allows God to speak to us in profound ways as we pray through his Word.

This post is inspired by Don Whitney’s book, Praying the Bible. If you want to learn more, pick up this short read or visit Pray the Bible and sign up for 5 short courses on how to pray the scriptures.

3 Prayers to Help You Share the Gospel

3 Prayers to Help You Share the Gospel

3 PRAYERS TO HELP YOU SHARE THE GOSPEL

Something incredible happens when we share the Gospel with people who don’t know Jesus: they come to know him. This doesn’t happen every time, but each time someone trusts in Jesus, it’s because they understand the truth of the Gospel. This understanding isn’t a result of our eloquent speech, but because of the work of the Holy Spirit.

Since sharing the gospel doesn’t just depend on us alone, it only makes sense to invite God into the process through prayer. Here are three prayers that can help you prepare to tell other people about Jesus:

1 // God, please fill me and refill me with your Spirit

In Acts 2, the apostles were motivated by the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel with everyone around them. As a result, they saw thousands of people come to faith in Jesus. Especially if you’re struggling with desiring to share the Gospel, ask God to fill you with his Spirit to motivate and empower you to share God’s truth with others.

2 // God, show me who you want me to share the Gospel with

Yes, God wants us to share the Gospel with everyone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus, but it’s best if we start with one person first. Who do you know who doesn’t know Jesus? Maybe a specific name doesn’t come to mind. Continue to ask God and he will show you who he’s seeking after and who is also in your sphere of influence.

3 // God, give me an opportunity

It’s not just true for comedy—timing is (nearly) everything when we share the Gospel, too. As the Parable of the Soils ( Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15) reminds us that everyone is in a different place of receptivity towards God’s truth. This means we need to ask for God’s wisdom to know how to approach these different situations and wait for the right one. Maybe it’s not the right time with one friend, but as you continue to ask God to provide an opportunity, he will be faithful to show you when and in what way will be best.

5 Prayers to Refocus Your Resolutions

5 Prayers to Refocus Your Resolutions

5 PRAYERS TO REFOCUS YOUR RESOLUTIONS

At the start of a new year, we’re pressured to set lofty goals for the future. Read twenty books. Eat healthier. Get a new job. Lose sixty pounds. Learn to mountain bike. While intentional and ambitious goal-setting is great, we can often forget where our goals should begin and who they should focus on. We fail to remember who numbers our days and who orders our steps. Instead, as we begin with prayer, we make sure our goals are focused on God’s transformation of our hearts—not our own striving to mold ourselves into people who appear good on the surface.

As you pray through these questions, reflect on the past year and refocus on the year ahead. Ask God how he wants to transform you this year with these questions:

Where do I need to listen more?

Our world has become so loud, listening is becoming a lost art. If you’re a person who is quick to speak, maybe your verse this year needs to be James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

Where do I need to speak up more?

Maybe God wants you to cultivate boldness this year as you speak up against injustice and for God’s love for the world. Ask him to show you where he wants you to speak up and for him to provide the words when the time comes.

Where do I need to trust God more?

Do you have a hard time trusting God with your finances? What about your kids? Do you trust God to lead them and take care of them? Hold on to the truth of Matthew 6:25-34 to fight worry and cultivate trust in God this year.

Where do I need to pay more attention?

As time goes on, the essential things can fall by the wayside as the most urgent things beckon for our attention. Maybe you need to pay more attention to intentional time with your kids or your spouse. What about your time with God? Ask him where he wants you to refocus your attention this year.

Where do I need to express more patience?

Especially as we set goals, patience is important. Maybe your goal for the past few years has been to get a new job. How can you pursue this goal and express patience this year? No matter what the goal is, your patient pursuit of it will express trust and hope in God.

Let’s heed the wisdom of the proverbs that warns, “Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!” (Proverbs 19:2) Instead of coming before God with our goals and plans—asking for his stamp of approval on our ideas—humbly seek his guidance and direction first.