“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” – Ephesians 6:18-20
A Thought for the Day
As we are at the halfway point of praying for our five, it would be good to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of how God is building his kingdom where we live and work and play.
Who else is God using to build his kingdom where you live? How can you equip, enable, celebrate, or bless them today?
Listen to what JR Woodward and Dan White Jr say in their book “Church as Movement” about making a difference where we live:
“We have a natural tendency to be myopic when we set out to do something significant in a place. We gain energy by spinning a narrative that ‘no one else is doing what I’m doing.’ In my (Dan’s) section of the city diverse people have been faithfully working for the kingdom of God. We have differing theologies and personalities, but it would be quite arrogant for me to claim special status in this place… Our territorialism is destructive to the flourishing of the kingdom of God. The first-century disciples were as tempted by this as we are: “‘Master… we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you’” (Lk 9:49-50). The disciples had a strong we-they mentality even though they knew what it felt like to be outsiders in the empire. We must fight this impulse. God is doing something significant in your parish; spread out your arms to lay hold of it.” – “The Church as Movement by JR Woodward and Dan White Jr, pgs 208-209
Here are a series of questions to think through, and maybe discuss with other people in your community, like a house group or social club or gathering of neighbours:
- Who is pursuing justice for others in your community?
- Who is seeking to meet the practical needs (like food, shelter, healthcare, friendship, DIY, etc.) of others in your community?
- Who is responsible for educating children in your community?
- Who else in your community might be praying for five friends right now, and looking for ways to share the good news of Jesus with them?
- What other places of worship are trying to create space for people to encounter God?
The answers to these questions could be a great place to start being a part of the bigger picture of what God is doing in your community. Pray for them, and then ask some of these questions:
Is there something you could do today to encourage someone on this list in their work? Or publicly celebrate their efforts and achievements? Is there someone on this list you could listen to and learn from about your community? Is there someone on this list you could support with your skills, experience, money, network, or time?
Today, make an effort to step out of your bubble and join in with the other things that God is doing in your community right now.
Praying for your Five:
“Heavenly Father, we are so sorry for the times, like Elijah in the desert, that we have allowed ourselves to believe that we are the only ones carrying your torch in our community. Please forgive us. We are so sorry for being so blind to the ways you are building your kingdom through others in our community, especially those that are really different to us. Please forgive us. I ask today that you would bless, fill with your life, all those in our community that can aid in the building of your kingdom through justice, mercy, and sharing your good news. I especially pray for [say the names of the people and organisations from the previous questions], that they would both be filled with your life and be able to multiply it for our community.”
Praying Something Old
Try making this your prayer today, from Clement of Rome who lived in the first century AD:
“We ask you, Master, be our helper and defender. Rescue those of our number in distress; raise up the fallen; assist the needy; heal the sick; turn back those of your people who stray; feed the hungry; release our captives; revive the weak; encourage those who lose heart. Let all the nations realize that you are the only God, that Jesus Christ is your Child, and that we are your people and the sheep of your pasture.”
Praying Something New
Use Lectio Divina to meditate on Luke 9:43-50. If you have never done it before, you can follow these four steps:
- Read: Read the passage out loud a few times. What stands out to you?
- Imagine: Imagine the story and yourself in it. What do you notice? What is said to you?
- Think: Sit quietly for a few moments and contemplate what you experienced.
- Pray: Talk to God about what you experienced and learned.