I truly believe that 2018 will be a very strategic year for us as a church. We aim to mobilize all our people and resources to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus in multiple ways throughout our city. My hope is, and has been, that we see more people encounter the love of God through the gospel of Jesus than any year before.
We live in the 7th largest city in the United States, with an estimated population of 1.7 million people, and only about 7% of those people believe in sin, the Bible, and know and love Jesus as their savior. Many of the people I encounter feel that they could never belong to a church because of their past experiences, current struggles, or beliefs.
God has called us to this city. To love this city, to serve this city, and most importantly share Jesus with this city. I am convinced that if we are going to see any of this accomplished it must first begin in prayer. The reason being, there has never been a mighty movement of God that didn’t first begin in prayer. These powerful movements of God are often called revival, spiritual renewal, or spiritual awakening.
Sadly, I hear people claim to want revival, but most people don't want to pray. Which means they really don’t want revival, they just want some kind of emotional experience without Jesus. I see this often, and sadly it frequently leads people away from Jesus, starting some new form of heresy. You see, we either have Jesus or we have nothing. There will be no rejoicing in heaven if Jesus isn’t there.
Over the past few months we’ve spent a lot of time in prayer as a church because prayer is a great privilege and we long to see God do something great in our city. To this end, our friends at Ligoneer Ministries have produced a free prayer guide called “Awakening”.
THE AWAKENING PRAYER GUIDE
To use the guide, find the prayer that corresponds to the current week. Each week of the month focuses on a different group to pray for, starting with you and your family, and expanding to larger communities. Here’s a snapshot from January’s prayer focus:
Week 1: Pray for yourself and your family. Pray that you would know the riches of your salvation in Christ and that your family would too. “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” (Eph. 1:1)
Week 2: Pray for your neighbors, church, and coworkers. Pray that your local church’s good works would shine as a light to your community. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matt. 5:14)
Week 3: Pray for your city and nation. Pray that your nation would abandon its idols and worship the one true God. “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!” (1 Chron. 16:28)
Week 4: Pray for the world and the global church. Pray that God would provide opportunities for the gospel to penetrate unreached people groups. “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.” (Col. 4:3)
PRAY WITH US!
We hope this prayer guide encourages you this year, and in future years. Join us in praying fervently for a mighty movement of God’s Spirit today, thankful that He has graciously promised to hear us, and confident in knowing that He will answer our prayers according to His will.