Over the past few years, I have been challenged in my own life to “pray the Scriptures” more for people and situations, and also just for worshipful prayer. God’s word is a breath of life for our souls as God speaks to us, so why not use it to shape and fashion or prayers back to God. (BTW, side note: D.A. Carson has a good study on this topic called Praying with Paul and Don Whitney has an excellent, and short, book called Praying the Bible.)
Although #SBC2020 is still several months away, there has been a lot going on in recent days concerning it, and sadly, that includes a lot of bickering as well. But here’s the thing–no, we don’t always see eye to eye, and we have different opinions on things like resolutions and how best to engage the culture with the Gospel; however, we, as SBC pastors, leaders, and church members, are still part of the same big, crazy SBC family and, more importantly than that, God’s family.
Yes, there are always outliers, but as a whole we SBCers are strongly committed to the inerrency and sufficiency of Scripture, the exclusivity of Jesus in salvation, the need to spread the gospel in the world, pro-life causes, religious-liberty causes, etc. We love Jesus and we love the Gospel. We have more in common than things that divide us. (Second side note: Yes, I know, some will argue with this idea and claim liberal drift and Soros funding and Resolution 9. My response would be: Read and listen. Read what’s actually written by the people in question. Listen to what they say and teach, in its full context. Any ol’ so-called discernment blog, cinedoc, and publication can take quotes or clips, shred context, and make almost anyone look like a heretic. That’s why we need to be Bereans with what people say and post; and yes, that takes work, but it’s honest.)
So, with that in mind, since the talk about #SBC2020 won’t be dissipating anytime soon, I thought it might be good to pray some of God’s word over current happenings, plannings, and attitudes. Will you join me?
Pray Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory because of your faithful love, because of your truth.”
Father, remind us that our lives, our churches, and our convention are not about us, our will, or our desires. Either we are glorifying you, or we are missing the mark. Either we are exalting you, or our activities are in vain. Help us to keep our egos out of the way. Lord, kill our pride. Let us rejoice in your love. Let us pursue your truth, The Truth. Let all the ways we speak, vote, blog, coordinate, and serve be for your glory alone. Amen.
Pray Psalm 133:1-3 “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron’s beard onto his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion For there the Lord has appointed the blessing–life forevermore.”
Father, unity is a blessing. There is so much that seeks to divide us; so many ways that Satan attempts to drive a wedge. Jesus said in John 17 that our unity would be our apologetic, that it would declare to the world that you sent Jesus and that we are truly his. Father, certainly our unity should not be blind. Your word must drive it. But let us long for it. Let us strive for it. Let us look for the best in each other and ways we can work together. You have made us one through Jesus. You have given us each of your Spirit. We are brothers and sisters in your family. Jesus tore down the dividing walls of hostility; let us not build them back. Let your love reign supreme in drawing us together. Amen.
Pray Psalm 67:3-4 “Let the peoples praise you, God; let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy…”
Father, help us to remember our mission. Why do we exist as a convention? Why do we gather as a body? Why do we pool our resources as 47,000 churches? Help us to remember that we exist so that the world might know and follow Jesus. We exist for the farmer in rural America. We exist for the small town factory worker. We exist for the big city project manager. We exist for the nuclear family. We exist for the single parent struggling to provide for his/her children. We exist for the happily married couple. We exist for the teenager struggling with sexual identity. We exist for those who seem to have it all together. We exist for those at rock bottom. We exist for those harmed by racism. We exist for the abused. We exist for those dying of preventable diseases in third world countries. We exist for the child born in a culture where the Gospel is not known. We exist for the ones chanting “Death to America.” We exist for the refugee seeking a better life for his family. We exist for them all because we exist to see your Gospel spread near and far, to see repentance of sin and faith in Jesus, to see the healing only you can give, and to see the peoples, all the peoples, and all the people praise you with joy. Remind us of our mission every day. Amen.
Pray Psalm 78:4-6 “We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children so that a future generation–children not yet to be born–might know…”
Father, help us to consider our testimony. Help us to ponder our legacy. When our children and grandchildren think of our moment in 2020, what will they remember? Help ours to be a story of your praiseworthy acts. Father, bring to an end whatever exist among us that would harm our testimony to future generations. Father, give more light to the things we do that show your wonder and might and grace. Give us a perspective that looks beyond the moment. Help us to think of the years to come and how our actions will affect all tomorrows yet to come. Amen.
Scripture quotes taken from the Christian Standard Bible.