Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Five Prayers I'm Praying

At the beginning of this year I resolved to pray for five things regularly in 2007, in addition to and among the many other various family, personal and ministry concerns that make their way to the head of my prayer line, so to speak. I decided to do this as an exercise of trust in what the scriptures say about prayer, namely, that consistent and persevering prayer bears fruit, somehow (i.e., sometimes in ways we didn’t anticipate). I share these with you not to trumpet my prayer life (it is still too feeble) but to reveal a little of myself to you and perhaps inspire you to pray likewise in some form or fashion.

#1 Lord, renew my passion for ministry. I am in my 15th year of full-time preaching. If I preach until age 60 I am at the halfway point. It feels like a halfway point. I feel a concrete sense of wanting to reflect mid-race and make sure I will run the second half well. I am not at all down or discouraged; on the contrary, I am asking God for a fresh burst of insight and passion for the second half.

#2 Lord, give me a vision for West Houston. Three weeks ago I preached that the elders’ and my vision for WHCC is to be a “community connected Church of Christ in northwest Houston.” That’s a great start, and quite helpful to me. Now I’m asking God to give me specific insights into what that could look like as we move forward in our journey together.

#3 Lord, give me a hunger for the Word. When I began preaching at age 30 I was a student of the Scriptures. Now I’m more a student of people (seriously). All well and good. But I am more convinced than ever at the half-way point that the Word of God is a primary way God grows people spiritually, feeds and strengthens his flock, and provides guidance, strength and direction for our lives. Without the Word of God we grow malnourished. The psalmist says “I treasure your word in my heart” (119:11). I want to say that too.

#4 Lord, give me a burden for the lost. I spend about 90% of my time with church folks, which is quite a blessing but also a danger. It’s easy to get increasingly insulated and apathetic about the lost in my neighborhood and area. This is compounded by the spiritual demographics of Houston, where most people (it seems) have some church affiliation, however distant or tenuous. But I know that the gospel without a message of salvation is lacking in spiritual power or integrity, and I want to have not just awareness in my mind but a burden in my heart for the lost. I believe burdens from God are blessings, and I am asking for more of this burden.

#5 Lord, give me an eagerness for relationships. I have shared my penchant for independence; I want to move beyond that to inter-dependence. This is what we invoke when we sing “Bind us together, Lord, with cords that cannot be broken,” and it is a beautiful thing. I want to be more eager for relationships in my life because I know they are a gift from God and not to be disdained.

In John Ortberg’s book, “If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat,” he relates what he calls the “Bob Challenge,” which is simply this: Pray about something every day for six months and see what happens. It’s a lot harder than you might think to be that focused and persistent in prayer. I’m giving it a shot. Feel free to join me.


Post a Comment

<< Home