Sunday, January 08, 2012

A 365 Day Global Prayer Journey - January 8 (Day 8)

How are you doing on this journey that we're on? Are you beginning to get into the habit of daily prayer for the world? Let me take this moment to encourage you to persevere - if you have missed a few days, or even if you are just joining us, that's ok! If you have been with us from the beginning, then be prepared for the enemy to start throwing up roadblocks. Once he realizes you're serious about this, he will try to stop you because prayer is the battleground on which we take up our armor and the sword of the Spirit, and fight against the powers and principalities that seek to hold the world captive (see Ephesians 6).

Today's focus in Operation World narrows a bit, while still maintaining a global scope. Today we will be praying for the church worldwide. The church - all believers, in all places and times. The church universal, made up of untold numbers of churches local. I pray you are a part of a local fellowship of believers. Today, though, we are going to look beyond our church walls and denominational boxes and even beyond the church in our own country. Read pages 16-18 and then we will pray for THE church - the church Jesus died for, the church that the gates of hell will never prevail against.

Did you learn something new as you read over the prayer requests? It's amazing to think that the "typical Christian" is no longer a white westerner - praise God for diversity in the body of Christ! Yet as you see in the requests, there are many needs, many opportunities for the enemy to creep into the body of Christ. Sometimes we in the west have acted in a superior manner to other parts of the body of Christ, as if they needed us to succeed. Other times we glorify the church in suffering countries, thinking that suffering alone produces a growing church. Today's requests serve as a reminder that all churches depend upon the leadership of Jesus and will be effective only to the degree that they surrender to His lordship. As we pray for the global church, let's pray those same requests over our local churches as a reminder that we are all part of the same body. The video afterward will give us a chance to worship together and remember that His church all over exists for one reason: To lift Him up before the world.

My prayer for today: Oh Lord Jesus, Your Word tells us that You gave Yourself for the church to present her as a pure and spotless bride, to make her holy and present her to Himself without stain or wrinkle or blemish. Lord, we pray today for Your bride, for your church in the world. We pray that in all corners, the church would maintain a clear witness to the uniqueness of Christ - we pray against the temptation to compromise on this most important of all doctrines. We come against the enemy who seeks to subtly deny the heart of the Gospel by casting doubt on who Jesus is. Lord, it is so important in that light that churches maintain the centrality of Your Word. Help pastors hold firmly to Your Word as fully authoritative and inerrant, and let Your Word be the decisive instrument in issues of compromise and culture. Let us not exalt cultural forms over biblical principles; guide us to understand Your Word in each new context in which the Gospel goes forth. I pray for effective local churches and for missionary partners who understand how crucial it is to equip the local church to stand alone. Guide missionaries in sustainable missions practices. Raise up more and more leaders and help them get the training they need, just as Paul spent time training the leaders at Ephesus. Lord, I pray for churches to take discipleship seriously and that there would be an increase in materials in heart languages. Give Your people a passion for Your word. I pray Lord that Your global church would be outward-looking, not inward focused, and that believers would be vibrant witnesses to the Gospel. I pray that Your church will seek to make a difference at all levels of society, and I pray for special wisdom in reaching young people. I ask for the Holy Spirit to be active in individuals and churches for the glory of God and the spread of the Gospel. And Lord I lift a special prayer for the persecuted church today and for those organizations such as Open Doors who are dedicated to ministering to the persecuted. Please give us wisdom when to seek intervention through governmental means, and when our best efforts are spent just on our knees. Lord, we pray that You will deliver all those in prison from the evil, perverse men who hold them, as Paul said, "for not all believe". Lord, help those who will remain in prison to realize that You are with them and to not doubt the message of truth for which they are in chains. Lord, I pray these prayers also for my own church - help us to never deny the uniqueness of Jesus or the centrality of His word; to be disciples who seek You passionately and look beyond our walls to the needs of our community and world; raise up godly leaders in our church who glorify You; and help us in our efforts to remember those in chains for the Gospel. Thank You, Lord, that You reign and that we are just part of the overall picture of what You are doing in the world.

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