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How Do You Pray for the Church?by Duane Mabee on October 20, 2021
How do you pray for North River, both its leaders and congregation? Do you pray for North River? I hope so. We need it.
I am struck by the way Paul consistently prayed for the churches he worked with. Take some time to look through his letters. He describes how he prays for the recipients at the beginning of most of them. What strikes me is that he primarily prays for what they would become – their spiritual character and development.
In Disciples are Made Not Born, Walter Henrichsen points out that Jesus is far more interested in what we are than what we do. Jesus was never frustrated with the Pharisees over their lack of activity. He admits that they were good at evangelizing, Bible study, tithing, prayer, and fasting. His frustration with them boiled over, however, because of what they had become – their attitudes, their values, and their outlook on life.
Paul, a former Pharisee, apparently understood that. While he was one of the most active servants of God on the planet, his focus seemed to remain on what we become. Check out how he prays for the churches and believers. Sort through his instructions and categorize them by “do this” and “be this”. The weight falls heavily on the “be this” side. That makes sense for many reasons. Character always overrides ability. Judas and the Pharisees are great (bad) examples. They exuded ability, but their lack of character landed them all on the ash heap of history.
North River, its leaders, and I all need you to pray for us. We need God to increase our ability, but far more than that, we need God to develop our spiritual character. We need the Spirit of God to make us like the Son of God. We need to become fully surrendered to the will and ways of our Savior. When that happens, we will have no reason to be concerned about our abilities.
I urge you to pray for North River and all those who consider her their church home. Pray for us the way Paul prayed for the churches.
“…we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light,” Col. 1:9-12 ESV.