God, as I reflect on the past few years I am grateful for you faithfulness and your presence in the midst of the chaos of the world, the pain that has been produced and the tensions that have arisen both in society and in the church. There have been many great things you have done, and I continue to believe all the tough things are being used to refine us and help us all get back to the most important thing: Building your kingdom. With a heart of gratitude, I pray these things for your church.
For those who have lost touch with the church community and no longer regularly participate in your body. Would you instill a longing to return to the community, the body of Christ? For those who have found reason to distance themselves because of frustration, busyness, or whatever other reason, would you awaken them to desire to be part of a church, not just in attendance, but in deeply investing in the life of the church for your glory?
For those who have not yet involved themselves in serving, would your Spirit stir in hearts, the calling to serve others. We need volunteers in Students and in Children’s ministry, but we don’t want to fill spots for the sake of allowing a program to run. We want people to be obediently passionate about the opportunity to pour into the lives of our younger generations, knowing the love they give our children and students will have an eternal reward and will make a lasting difference.
For those who are looking for deep, intentional community I pray that Real Life can be a place where they not only find it but are willing to fight for it. I ask that none of us are satisfied with a church we like, but we become a church we love because we all pursue love and are loved. I ask that each person seeks intentional, God-focused, heavenly refining relationships that are bound together in the unity of Christ. I pray we don’t just want that, but that we all take responsibility for creating that type of church.
For those who are involved in deep community, and serving, I ask that passion continues, and you protect them from the lies the devil will try to use to disconnect and dishearten them.
For the heart of the church:
I ask we would fearfully and faithfully embrace the truth that “Your strength is made perfect in our weakness.”God, I don’t know what that means for us individually and as a community, but your word is true, and we want your power to be made known to the world. So, I pray we would be a weak church, a church desperately dependent on you, a church that truly cultivates lives that live Jesus > everything. God help us never believe we are doing great, or are a great church in our own sake, but keep us evaluating our greatness only on: Do we foster a heart and a life that is nothing without you? Does Real Life boast in our weakness so God can be glorified? Does Real Life stay true to God’s Word? Does Real Life pray fully seek God’s will in we do? God, would your strength be made perfect in our weakness?
I ask that the leaders of this church would be known for their hearts to shepherd. Whether its and elder, a staff member, a student ministry leader, a community group leader, or children’s classroom leader, would you keep us from seeing our role as simply filling a function? Instead, would you stir in each of us the heart of a shepherd: knowing, protecting, caring for, guiding, and loving those you’ve entrusted to us? You are the good shepherd. May we look to you in how we should shepherd those around us.
I ask in all of this that we would be a praying church. Prayer shows a dependence on you and a need for your strength, your wisdom, your guidance. We need you entirely, and though your strength, wisdom, and guidance are gifts, the receptivity of our hearts to receive those is revealed in prayer. I ask that each person at Real Life grows in their prayer life, seeking you regularly, building a relationship with you through prayers, and keeping the church body in their prayers throughout the year. God, I believe if we cultivated a heart of regular, desperate prayer in our church we would see and participate in building your kingdom in ways that would thrill us. Let us be thrilled with prayer.
I thank you for the participation in Faith FULL this fall and ask that what was learned in that time would be put into practice. I ask that none of the tools given would be forgotten, but each one would be explored in more depth in order to teether ourselves closer to you, experience your presence, and live out our calling. Help us be a church filled with people fully living out their faith as we develop our relationship with you.
I ask there would be a greater interest in serving in our students and children’s ministry. Our kids have it soooooo tough with the anti-Jesus sentiments of the world and a culture that defines “truth” by how things make you feel. God, our students and children need more adults in their lives who show them the love of Christ, show them the way the truth and the life that comes from you. I ask that you stir in the hearts of our adults an eagerness to serve, and not just serve in their “timeslot” but serve the way you have served us- giving your life to the teaching, training, and loving of those around you.
With that God, you know my heart to give our students a better space, a space that serves them well, and creates a better environment for splitting High School and Middle school on Sunday mornings and having a better space for small groups when they meet. We thank you for this building and are committed to paying off the remaining $2.1 million before we build with committed money in the future. So, I ask audaciously, would you provide a miracle of paying off the remaining loan this year so we can begin to seek pledges for building expansion for our children and students? I know this is a crazy prayer, and I don’t know what your will is, but if it is your will, would you provide in this way. God, even if we can’t build for a number of years, I ask that we continue to do all we can to help foster a heart of lifetime love for Jesus in the next generation.
God, would you allow each of us to see our neighbors, co-works, friends, and classmates with the love you have for them? Provide us with opportunities to share about you and then give us the strength to speak up, about you, in love.
God I beg that we would be a community that truly embraces our mission statement: To be a community where each person is loved and transformed to live Jesus> everything. These last two years have had a lot of heartache and isolation, but your light breaks through the darkness. Would you help each one of us to fight for the community you’ve called us to be, full of grace and truth, and bound together in Jesus? Allow each person to be known and loved, and in that, soften each of our hearts to be transformed by your work, your love, your truth.
God this church is your church. I ask all of this with gratitude, knowing if none of this is done, you have already done so much more through Jesus. So, it’s in His name I pray, amen.