Archive | April, 2015

40 Days of Prayer for Moral & Spiritual Awakening

28 Apr

40DaysofPrayer

I am publicly joining Dr. Rick Lance and Dr. Travis Coleman in encouraging Alabama Baptists particularly and all Bible believing Christians generally to pray specifically and daily for moral and spiritual awakening to come in America. Just today the headlines in our nation show our great need for this to happen. On one hand the Supreme Court is hearing arguments about the definition of marriage, and on the other hand all of us have seen the tragic situation in Baltimore. Our country is in trouble and the only hope we have is a mighty revival to come in our land.  Here are some excerpts from a blog post Dr. Lance wrote to kick off this emphasis…

Selected Bible Passages relating to Revival & Spiritual Awakening
(Taken from a resource by J. Chris Schofield)

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 (HCSB): “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
  • Psalm 85:6 (HCSB): “Will You not revive us again so that Your people may rejoice in You?”
  • Isaiah 64:1 (HCSB): “If only You would tear the heavens open and come down, so that mountains would quake at Your presence.”
  • Psalm 119:37 (HCSB): “Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.
  • Habakkuk 3:2 (HCSB): “Lord, I have heard the report about You; Lord, I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years. In Your wrath remember mercy!”
  • Acts 3:19 (HCSB): “Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:1, 3, 4 (HCSB): “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone…This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Prayers for Spiritual Awakening
(Taken from a resource by Greg Frizzell)

  • Holy Father, we humble ourselves and acknowledge Your righteous Judgment upon our sins. (2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalm 85:6)
  • Righteous God, please send overwhelming love, godly fear and genuine repentance among Your people. (Psalm 51:17; Proverbs 28:13; Matthew 22:37-39; 2 Corinthians 7:1, 10)
  • Righteous God, grant to us a mountain-moving faith and a passion for fervent prayer.(Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 21:13; Acts 2:1)
  • Holy Father, please bring us to loving unity in our churches and a deep harmony between our churches. (John 13:34-35; 17:20-22)
  • Gracious Lord, please fill us with a burning passion to pray for and witness to the lost.(Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 19:10; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5, 9:1-3)
  • Lord of the harvest, please call thousands into ministry, missions and Christian witness. (Matthew 9:37-38; Acts 1:8)
  • Holy Lord, we ask You to deepen and purify our very motives in praying for revival and blessing. (Ezekiel 33:32; Hebrews 4:12; James 4:1-4)
  • Righteous Lord, we plead for Your grace upon persecuted saints around the world. (Matthew 26:39; James 4:1-4)
  • Holy Father, we humbly ask for a mighty move of conviction in government and cultural leaders. (Psalm 2:8; 1 Timothy 2:1-4)
  • Sovereign God: We ask You to rend the heavens and show forth Your awesome presence in sweeping revival. (Isaiah 64:1; Ephesians 5:26-27; Revelation 22:17, 20)

Seven Covenant Prayers for Revival and Spiritual Awakening
(Taken from a resource by Greg Frizzell)

  • Pray for God to have mercy upon the church and nation–(2 Chronicles 7:14; Jeremiah 29:13)
  • Pray for love, repentance and holy fear to grip God’s people–(Matthew 22:37-39; 2 Corinthians 7:1)
  • Pray for a spirit of faith and intercession in God’s saints–(Matthew 21:13; Acts 2:1; Hebrews 11:6)
  • Pray for holiness, boldness and power in God’s leaders and churches–(Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4)
  • Pray for loving unity and oneness in Christ’s Church–(John 13:34; Acts 2:42-47)
  • Pray for burning passion and power in evangelism and missions–(Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)
    Pray for God to “rend the heavens” in sweeping revival and spiritual awakening–(2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 64:1; Psalm85:6)

Being a friend to your pastor (or a staff member)

20 Apr

As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17, NKJV)

Recently Becky and I went out to dinner with a couple from our church with whom we have become friends.  It was a couple of hours filled with laughter, stories, and great food.  It wasn’t a sermon or a Sunday School class; it was just two couples having dinner like all of the other people in the restaurant.  Like everyone else, pastors and church staff members really need those times. Over the years, I have been blessed to have very good friends in every church I have served. It doesn’t threaten me when I see our staff members developing friendships with church members either. Many readers of this blog do not attend the church I serve. Please let me share a few thoughts about being a friend to your pastor (or a staff member).

(1)  Be faithful to pray. Some of the most treasured friends are those we know pray for us on a regular basis. There have been times the Lord has used the encouragement of a praying friend in a great way.

(2) Feel free to have fun & talk about “normal” stuff. Sometimes people think since they are talking with a pastor the conversation must be about spiritual things or the church. Those things are certainly important – eternally important – and we are glad to talk about them.  However, the truth is that we “do church” all the time, but we enjoy far more than just the church. We enjoy talking about college football, favorite vacation spots, hobbies, or a host of other things. We enjoy laughing, hearing your stories, and telling our stories!

(3) Be a “safe place.”    As I write these words I am thinking of a family in a previous church who had us over to their home on several occasions. The very first time we went to their home, the wife told us as soon as we arrived: “Here you are just our friends, Greg & Becky.”  That was her way of saying that they intended for their home to be a safe place for our family, and it was. There was never an agenda and never an expectation of anything other than friendship. Those were times filled with love, laughter, and generosity that I will never forget.

(4) Disagree but remain a friend. In one church I served I could always count on one phone call when the proposed budget for the next year was distributed: a call from one of my best friends. Every year he was bent out of shape about something in the budget and he would give me an earful.  Then it was over. He disagreed, but he remained my close friend. Our friendship meant far more to him than a line item in a budget or an item on the agenda of a business meeting.

(5) Understand when we can’t share.  One time we were having dinner with close friends and a particularly sensitive issue in the church were we serving at that time came up in the conversation. Realizing the position she had put me in, the wife looked at me and said, “I’m sorry; I know you can’t go there.”  Every pastor and staff member has things they cannot share with even their closest friends due to confidentiality, etc. A good friend respects that even if it means we can’t tell them.

Every pastor and staff member needs friends. I am so very grateful for the gift of friends for life.

 

 

A Good Friday prayer

3 Apr

No, I’m not going to write out a prayer for you to pray. I am going to encourage you to pray this Good Friday. Read these passages, meditate on them, and pray this Good Friday.  I will see you in church on Sunday to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Christ!

But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5, HCSB)

He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, HCSB)

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.” (1 Peter 2:24, HCSB)