One of the great mysteries of life is that our prayers matter to God. As an all-knowing, all-powerful God, he sovereignly weaves our prayers into immeasurably good and eternal purposes. This is an astounding reality!
Adding to the powerful nature of our communication with God is that God seeks to refresh and restore individuals and churches through prayer. This is why some refer to prayer as “the breath of the Christian.” Just as a body cannot live long without oxygen, so the children of God who make up the body of Christ cannot live without purposeful communion with the Father. Without prayer, we grow sluggish, self-centered, lazy, and apathetic.
The elders of Grace Church invite you to join us during the month of March as we focus our personal and corporate prayer times on the specific topic of reconciliation. We desire for March 2015 to be a month where we recall and rejoice in the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17-19:
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
This is a time of renewed focus on our reconciled relationship with God through our faith in Christ. It is a time for us to replenish our passion for God and His word, the church, the lost, needy and broken. It is a time to reconsider our responsibilities and opportunities to engage the world with the good news of the glorious triune God Who has loved and lavishes grace upon us. This season of Prayer is our opportunity to repent of past prayerlessness and to turn again in humility to our Father, who delights in hearing and responding to our requests.
Being better at praying, being more attentive in our prayers doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll have less busy lives, but it does mean we will have less busy, more focused, more attentive hearts. And when we are less hectic on the inside, we are more loving and Christ-like on the outside.
One of the great hopes we have for this season of prayer is that we will know God better as we relate to and converse with Him in prayer. We hope also that we will get to know our own hearts better as well. As you grow in relationship with God through prayer, we believe God will change you. We believe that God will use our individual and corporate prayer times to encourage us in our strengths and provide new opportunities for us to use them. At the same time we believe that God will use our prayer times to discover all sorts of cynicism, pride, resentment, jealousy, and selfishness–things that are keeping us from joyful reconciliation with God and others. As painful as that can be, it ultimately serves to remind us as individuals and as a church that we are needy, that we depend on God for everything.
In our neediness, let us seek “Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
USING THE PRAYER GUIDES
Walking through a month of focused prayer
The goal of this prayer guide is to help our church pray as one even though we are scattered throughout the city during the week. The overarching topic for this season of prayer is reconciliation, but reconciliation is needed on a variety of levels in many different types of relationships. This guide will help us focus on the need for reconciliation in our personal relationships, relationships within our church, relationships within our city, and relationships within our world.
Throughout March, we will focus on the following prayer topics:
Week 4: Racial Reconciliation in Our City
Week 5: Now What?
March 29-April 4
We encourage you to read through the material and answer the questions provided for each week. Then begin to pray individually, as a family, with your Life Group and other friends. When we gather on Sunday, a portion of our service will be focused on the topic we’ve focused on for the previous week, allowing us to engage the Lord together. The hope is that as we focus our prayers as a church, we will develop a greater awareness of how God is at work, and how he is calling each of us as individuals and corporately as the church to be reconciled to God, to one another, and to be ambassadors of reconciliation in our city and world.
As we begin this prayer journey together, let us seize the opportunity for God to grip our hearts with a longing for deep reconciliation in our own relationship with Him and with others. Let us ask God for a fresh zeal in our own ministry of reconciliation as individuals and as a church.
As a first step toward these goals, please examine your own heart by considering the questions below:
- How is your prayer life? Is your prayer life marked more by duty or delight?
- Do you approach God as one of his beloved children, or as an orphan who does not know his/her Father?
- Are your prayers more conversational or formal? What keeps you from praying more consistently, passionately, honestly, and expectantly?