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Series Theme:  Learning to Pray for the Church

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                    PART FOUR: How to Pray for the Church


4.1 Don't Jump!


If you have picked this up on online and have gone to the front Contents, please do not just jump to this final Part. My absolute belief is that if we pray without the knowledge of the Pressures on the Church (Part 2) and aspects of Church Life (Part 3) we will very quickly run out in our praying and end up grinding to a halt and not focus our prayers on the real issues. Not only that, we will not pay attention to my warnings in the Introduction and so fail to give due thought to what we need to DO in respect of the issues raised in those previous parts.



4.2 An Approach


a) Preparation

For us to pray meaningfully, consistently and persistently, we need:

•  to be aware of the things we have been considering about the Church
•  to ask for a sense of holy dissatisfaction (a recognition of what could be, seen against what is in us and in the Church)
•  to accept a coming to the end of ourselves, to produce compete reliance upon Him, and to allow Him to do whatever He wants in and through us.


i.e. heart and mind preparation is all-important if we are seeking God for renewal of the Church, if not revival. The heart focuses on Jesus, the mind focuses on the problem of a church falling short of the divine design. A renewed church will be an obedient church, and empowered church and a wise church.


b) Purity

In order to pray righteously and graciously for the Church we must purpose to:

- avoid judgmentalism,
- recognise we are all at different places in our walk with God, and
- pray lovingly with humility.


As we move into prayer there must be a cleansed heart, a heart set free from past divisions and schisms. We do not pray against the church (or parts of it) but for it, all of it. We do not pray against leaders but for them. We do not pray against people but for them.



c) Praying

We need to pray with awareness of:


i) the Problems the work of the enemy that we need to resist. His interventions in the pressures we considered previously:

  1. Affluence, Materialism, Consumerism
    - which breeds complacency & indifference (unbelief)
  2. Progress in Science & Technology
    - which creates a distorted mindset (we are gods)
  3. Cultural Relationship Changes
    - that abandon God's design
  4. Demeaning of Scripture
     - that undermines the foundation of faith & behaviour.


In respect of these four things

•  pray for a new awareness in the people of God that our materialistic societies are essentially self-centred and godless,
•  pray that we may identify such ways of thinking in us and reject them, turning to God for deliverance from such attitudes IN US,
•  give thanks for the technology and scientific advances that have been made, particularly in medicine and surgery and in means of providing food for the world population,
•  ask for His help to deliver us from the folly of thinking we are masters of our destiny and affirm afresh that only He is, and that we WILL rely on Him,
•  ask Him to purify us and help us ensure we are in line with His will and His word as far as personal relationships are concerned,
•  ask Him to give us a fresh hunger for His word and a confidence in it and give us teachable hearts that yearn to learn from His word, and grow in knowledge, understanding and wisdom..



ii) the Possibilities a renewed church, that Jesus wants:


a) Countering Hindrances

•  read again the five undermining aspects of modern church life

•  ask the Lord to help your church become a place

•  where people feel they can settle and grow,

•  where the life and vitality of your church will be such that parents and especially children and young people will want to be there and see all other distractions as just that,

•  where love so blossoms and life so abounds that historical cliques will be undermined and disarmed and the power of enemy strongholds broken,

•  where rituals are held in their right place as add-ons that support the church but do not hinder the moving of the Spirit,

•  where activities are reassessed and only those with God's blessing clearly on them, continue, and that there be a new openness to listen to God for vision, for purpose and direction for the days to come.



b) Countering Leavers

•  read again the reasons why people leave negatively
•  ask the Lord to help your church become a place

•  where teaching is comprehensive, meeting the needs and the questions of people, resolving conflicts between so-called bible interpretations and so-called world understanding,

•  where the life and reality of the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit is taught and demonstrated so that each person has the opportunity to be filled and opened out in personal ministry,

•  where fresh wisdom is released to know how to establish personal ministry and counselling (as needed) within the church, that is accountable to the leadership,

•  where fresh wisdom is released to know how to teach and guide and equip the people of God into friendship groups where a new measure of security can be brought,

•  where safeguards are in place to provide accountability in respect of financial or other ethical matters.

c) A Vibrant Church
•  read again the four key facets of vibrant churches
•  ask the Lord to help your church become a place where

•  the word of God is preached fearlessly and comprehensively with authority,

•  strong friendships blossom and provide mutual support,

•  the Holy Spirit is given free reign and people are taught and empowered,

•  each person is equipped by the Spirit and is enabled to exercise their gifting within the body and feel fulfilled in that gifting, harmonizing with the rest of the body.


d) Emboldened Leadership
•  read again the difficulties encountered by leaders
•  ask the Lord to raise up (if it is not there yet) a leadership team that
•  flow in unity and harmony as a mutual-support, Holy-Spirit-led ministry team,
•  learn to hear the voice of God collectively and catch His purpose and direction,
•  are equipped with grace to bring wisdom, authority, protection and provision to the flock,
•  are gifted with grace to make decisions that are shared in wisdom and humility, that blesses the church and draws the church on,  
•  are gifted with faith, vision, revelation and power to bring healing, deliverance, equipping and empowering as they teach the church to grow and develop in relationship with Christ and in personal ministry.


iii) the Power as we come to God, ask

•  for His forgiveness for our past inadequacies
•  for His mercy to come with fresh power that
•  releases His word (preached and prophetic) to come with fresh anointing that breaks chains and strongholds, and sets captives free (salvation, and freedom in existing believers),
•  releases His Spirit to be experienced in all aspects of church life, in worship, in caring, in teaching, in creativity, in new directions outwards,
•  creates a yearning and holy dissatisfaction that will not be satisfied until He comes with this power and transformation of the church
•  releases a new sense of His glory in our midst as we gather.

There is probably more, as the Spirit leads you as you pray, but this is all I have for the moment.


How lovely is your dwelling place,
     Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
     for the courts of the Lord ;
my heart and my flesh cry out
     for the living God.

(Psa 84:1,2)




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