Pastoral Perspectives

Join Me In Prayer For Our Church

In last Sunday’s sermon, I spoke about the importance of prayer. Practising this spiritual discipline will definitely take effort, but it should be something we enjoy since we have been given this privilege to commune with God. We should pray at all times regardless of our circumstances as we await the return of Christ. As a wrap-up of the sermon series that kick-started the year’s pulpit ministry, I have crafted a prayer that we can all use to pray for our church community. It is a prayer that is informed by the Word of God, and if we pray according to His Word, we will be praying according to His will. If we pray according to His will, we can be confident that God will hear us and answer our prayers (1 John 5:14-15). You may want to pray this prayer in sections (if you find it too long) or you may want to pray the whole prayer at one go. It is my prayer that you will pray regularly for our church and ourselves along these lines. So here it goes…

Eternal King, our heavenly Father, we thank you for calling us out of darkness into your marvellous light. We are thankful that through Christ’s finished work on the cross and his rising again from the dead, you have redeemed us from the condemnation of sin. Once we were not a people, but now we are your people; once we had not received mercy, but now we have received mercy. Being rich in mercy, and because of your great love for us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, you have made us alive together with Christ. And by his grace, though Christ was rich, yet for our sake he became poor so that by his poverty we might become rich. Fill our hearts with gratitude for the undeserving salvation that we have in him. May the joy of our salvation so permeate our hearts that even in the face of the most difficult trial we will remain steadfast in our faith. Let our gratitude for what Christ has done for us be so deep that it becomes the compelling force that governs how we live as your beloved sons and daughters.

We thank you that we, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood. As your priests, we want to dedicate ourselves to a life of worship. We pray that we will actively engage in corporate worship every Sunday when we come to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour. We pray that we will sing enthusiastically and give to you our sacrifice of praise which you so deserve and desire. We pray that we will also listen intently to your still, small voice throughout the worship service so that, should you speak to us through the songs we sing, the prayers we pray or the Word that is read, memorised and preached, we will hear you loud and clear, and will then go forth into the world to continue our life of worship in faith and obedience throughout the week ahead. Just as the OT priests taught God’s laws to the people, as a priesthood of believers, we pray that we will mutually encourage one another through Word-centred and Christ-centred conversations, and we will also intercede for each other so that this spiritual house that we belong to can be built up by the power of your Spirit who indwells us. 

Just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many, Lord we pray that we too will have a servant heart and will freely and cheerfully give of our time, talents and treasures to serve you and your people. We acknowledge that everything we have belongs to you. You are the one who has given us all that we possess, so help us to have a generous heart when it comes to giving of ourselves towards kingdom work. Thank you for giving us spiritual gifts out of your abundant grace. We know that as long as we have the Holy Spirit in us, we are given gifts to serve and build up one another. We want to be good stewards of the gifts that you have entrusted to us. We want to serve you with zeal and with joy, knowing that service is a privilege rather than a chore. We don’t want to depend on our own strength. We acknowledge that we are weak but you are strong, and your power is made perfect in our weakness; we acknowledge that your grace is always sufficient for the task that you have called us to undertake, so we want to constantly look to you to supply us with the strength that we need, so that in everything you may be glorified through Jesus Christ.

We pray that we will be a loving community. Just as we have received much love from you, we want to model your love so that we will love one another earnestly and sincerely. We pray that we will love as Jesus first loved us. We will forgive as Jesus has forgiven us. We are reminded that love covers a multitude of sins. As a loving community, we want to be hospitable and to welcome everyone regardless of their age, race, social background and nationality. Impress upon our hearts that each time we extend hospitality to someone, we are extending hospitality to Christ himself. We pray that in humility we will count others more significant than ourselves; we will look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. We pray for greater authenticity and transparency so that our relationships will not be superficial. Tear away our masks so that we do not pretend that all is well when it is not. Instead, help us to relate with one another openly and honestly, so that we can mutually support each other and speak truths into each other’s lives.

Fill us with compassion for the lost – those who do not yet know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. They may be in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, in our neighbourhoods, or in the mission field. Give us the boldness, wisdom and love to reach out to them. Through the way we conduct our lives, we pray that they will catch a glimpse of Jesus, and when we engage them in spiritual conversations and share with them the gift of salvation that Jesus offers, may your Spirit touch their hearts so that they will receive this gift with gladness and joy. 

As a church, bind us in unity just as you have drawn us into the fellowship of the Triune God. Let us be salt and light for you where you have placed us. Transform us into the likeness of Christ as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, being assured that you are the one working in us both to will and to work for your good pleasure. And we know that you are able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, accordingly to the power at work within us. To you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!

Rev Lee Kien Seng

January 27, 2019