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"Pray that Christ's work would spread, that the hope of the gospel would, one by one, bring souls into the family of God. Pray that leaders would rise up to plant new churches in places that are desperately in need of the gospel."
The Cornerstone Elders just got back from three days of studying Scripture and prayer. God is very clear that studying His Word and praying are central tasks of undershepherds in God's Church (Acts 6:4). It was a refreshing time away.
Oftentimes I am overwhelmed before I pray. There is so much suffering in our world, so many souls needing the comfort of a Savior, so many needing His forgiveness and love, so much injustice, so much pain, so much death, so much disease, and so much evil that it can be easy to be feel that there's too much to be able to do anything. But we can, and we ought to, at the very least pray.
Pastor Brian led the other elders through some content from his Prayer and Spirituality class. One aspect that struck me was the emphasis on meditating on, and praying through Scripture, confidently seeking God to fulfill His promises.
In light of that insightful time I have written this post about what we, as Cornerstone Church, can be praying for, and some Scripture to meditate on and pray through.
“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." –Jeremiah 29:4-7 ESV
In Jeremiah 29 God commands His people in exile to live and care for Babylon.
Pray for the welfare of the city, and that Christians all around our city would be engaged, would love Los Angeles, would care for their neighbors, would serve those who are hurting and marginalized in our communities, would represent Christ and His love.
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress." –Isaiah 65:17-19 ESV
In Jerusalem (and Gaza City, and Khan Yunis, and Yarmouk, and... this list goes on) the sound of weeping and the cry of distress is real. Our war torn world is weary. When numbers escalate, 60 dead, 100 dead, 250 dead, 500 dead, it can be easy to lose sight of the reality: each number is a soul. Each number was part of a family. Each number represents a child, a mother, a father, a brother, a sister, and dozens and dozens of other souls distressed because of the loss. One day this will be gone. Pray for the hastening return of Christ. Pray for peace, for the human obsession with killing each other to be abated. Pray for political solutions, for leaders to rise up with the courage to lead people out of impossible situations. Pray for families caught in the middle of such horror, that they would find comfort in a God who will one day make everything new. And pray for Christians in these regions, often persecuted, that they would represent Christ well, would love the lowliest of the lowly in their communities, and would find their refuge in God.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
The hope of Christ has, for two thousand years, moved throughout our world, carrying with it forgiveness and reconciliation to God. Christ commanded His disciples to take the message of salvation offered in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the ends of the world. He called His disciples to make disciples, to plant churches, to teach the truths of His Word, to yield themselves to the authority and Lordship of Christ, and to find comfort in His presence which is with us to the end of the age.
Pray that Christ's work would spread, that the hope of the gospel would, one by one, bring souls into the family of God. Pray that leaders would rise up to plant new churches in places that are desperately in need of the gospel. Pray that churches around the world would be vibrant with the truth of the gospel, that they would not be distracted by turning church into something that it is not, but that the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father would be at the center of all that they do. Pray that Christians would be emboldened by truth, that they would not hesitate to proclaim Christ, that they would do so winsomely, humbly, and with love for those who they are reaching out to. Pray that God would be honored and glorified in His Church.
At any moment there are thousands of things to pray for. May you pray boldly, knowing that God is a God of perfect love, perfect grace, and perfect power.
Matt serves Cornerstone by overseeing Family Ministries.
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