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Seasons of Prayer

Seasons of Prayer

We want to be a church that is praying with each other, praying for each other, and praying that the grace of Jesus would be very present in our circumstances. So, we're excited to share with you that for the rest of the year, we will be praying through seasons of quietness, petition, anticipation, and praise! We hope you'll join us as we seek to listen to and pray to our loving God as he moves in and through our church during this time of transition and opportunity. We will be sharing weekly blog posts here to encourage you on how you can pray during this time. 

Praying for Unity

May 23, 2022

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23)

The prayers of Jesus give us a pattern for our prayers while they reveal his heart - perhaps because they reveal his heart. Jesus prays here for the unity of those who believe in him - for the unity of the church. So our hearts should be toward the unity of God’s people - at Calvary and throughout the wider church world. Even with Christians we disagree with (especially with Christians we disagree with). As the church is in complete unity (not agreement on all things), Jesus says “the world will know that you sent me and have them them een as you h ave loved me.” The truth of the gospel and the loving appeal of the church is hindered with disunity. We should desire unity in the church because Jesus did.

Unity is the heart of Jesus and should be our heart, so we should pray for the unity of the church. This means that God can work among us to bring us together (what we are praying for), if we let him. We should pray for the unity of the church because Jesus did. We should pray for the unity of the church because it is a message (one way or the other) to the world around us. Of course, that implies we should act toward the unity of the church - as much as it is up to us to do so.

Action: First, pray for the unity of the church this week. Second, takes steps toward that unity - seek reconciliation with a brother or sister in the faith, refrain from social media ‘hot takes’ about Christians, perhaps emphasize common ground. Or, ask God to help you find what your step toward unity should be.

Praying with Boldness

May 16, 2022

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. So now leave Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians talk, saying, ‘With evil motives He brought them out, to kill them on the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and relent of doing harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” So the Lord relented of the harm which He said He would do to His people. (Exodus 32:9-14)

We can see the mystery of prayer at work in this passage, along with the freedom to pray with boldness for what is on our hearts, what we believe is just and good and moves the Kingdom of God forward.

The mystery of prayer here is that Moses’ prayer seems to impact God’s response to the Israelites. God had a course of action in mind, Moses prayed, God committed to a different course of action. Where is the mystery? God is sovereign - and our prayers matter. God is sovereign, so our prayers are not commands and he is not like a genie in a lamp. But, within the sovereign rule of our King, there is room for our prayers to operate and impact His actions. There isn’t a promise that we get everything we pray for, but there is a promise that our prayers are more than simply words.

And, in that, there is a great freedom. It is good that God isn’t under our control, because we would make a mess of things. Yet we can pray for what is on our hearts, without a fear that we are ‘praying for the wrong things.’ It is important that we seek to pray for and submit to His will - but we don’t always know what that is and we don’t have to wait until we know it perfectly. We can pray. God is not under our control - and our prayers matter in the mystery of God’s sovereign will. So let’s pray.

Action: Are there things you are afraid to pray for or unsure if you are allowed to pray for them (and which aren’t explicitly unbiblical)? Lift those things to heaven with freedom and boldness and trust that God hears and will work in accordance with his will and our prayers in a way beyond our understanding.

Prayer for Protection and Deliverance from Evil

May 9, 2022

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13)

It may be easy for us to place ‘living the Christian life’ in the same category as ‘getting better at my job’ - something I need to apply effort to to get a result. It is true that effort is required - the effort of regular prayer, for example. But it is also true that we can’t just ‘put the work in’ and be successful in ‘living the Christian life’. We are seeking spiritual transformation. We can get in our own way in that process and there are spiritual forces that oppose that transformation in us. And so we need help.

Jesus tells us here to pray, daily (“give us our daily bread”), for help. He tells us to pray to be protected from temptation and to be delivered from evil. Both of these prayers come from a place of need and dependence. The prayer for protection is a prayer to be spared the circumstances that might tempt us to sin. The prayer for deliverance is a recognition that we need spiritual help for the spiritual opposition we may face daily.

Action: Pray

“Father in heaven, I need your power to avoid and resist temptation - and I need your power against evil in my life. Give me the humility to seek your help and the peace that comes with it.”

Prayer for the City and for the World

May 2, 2022

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (Jeremiah 29:7)

Jeremiah gives God’s message to his people as they are to go into exile in Babylon - seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which they were sent. They were to remain his distinct people while working for the good of the place they lived. And we are called to do the same. How can we pray for the communities of St. Charles county? How can we pray for St. Louis? For our country? For our world?

We can pray for peace and justice in these places. We can pray for hunger to be alleviated and for corruption to end and injustice to cease and for war to come to an end. And we can be a part of God’s answer to these prayers as well, as we are able. Instead of withdrawing ourselves from these problems, instead of thinking of them as not involving us - we are called to love all of these neighbors. And praying for these neighbors is a concrete way we can love them.

We have been called to this community and we are called to love our world - let’s pray.

Action: Pray

“Father in heaven, I pray for peace in our world, justice for those suffering under injustice, provision for those who are hungry, and medical care for those who are sick. I also pray for direction for my church and my family and myself as we seek to be a part of your answer to these needs wherever you lead us.”

Dependence in Prayer

Apr 25, 2022

Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. … Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.” (Psalm 16:1-2,5)

Why pray at all if God already knows what I need? Good question.

The answer is partly clear and partly a mystery. The clear part is that prayer is a declaration of dependence on God. It is an acknowledgement that, whatever the specific answer to the prayer is, we are dependent on God - apart from him we have no good thing. It is a declaration that he alone is our portion and our cup and that our safety and security is in him. We can always count on receiving the answer of dependence on God no matter what else we are praying for. Maybe this is the part of prayer that God is most interested in. He wants us to come to a point of trust and dependence in every answer - acknowledging that his answer is the one we really desire.

It is also true that praying to a sovereign God matters and moves things - even if this is a mystery. We know God is sovereign, that He is the king - and we know that our prayer matters even if we can’t explain how that works. We are back to faith and dependence and submitting ourselves to Him.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord …”

Action: Pray

“Father in heaven, in you I take refuge. You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. You alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Teach me to wait on you and depend on you and to trust you.”