With every season, there are celebrations and disappointments. Life seems to sometimes go on the path of a roller-coaster: sometimes things are looking up, other times things are down. That is why it is so critical to keep in mind what we talked about last weekend in our Acts series – that the CAUSE is so much more important than the CIRCUMSTANCES. It keeps us grounded in the fact that it is only in God’s Spirit and by his grace that we experience all he has for us, not in the shifting sands of life’s circumstances.
One of the key disciplines, in fact one of the four major devotions of the early church listed in Acts 2 is prayer. They prayed for things, against things, and during things. They prayed for people, with people, and even against certain people. They prayed as Paul would later write “in season and out of season.” They knew it was by and through prayer that the movement they were called to be part of would thrive.
Recently, I talked with our staff Lead Team and elders about some things to pray against as we head into the heart of the fall season at Cornerstone. Circumstantially, things around Cornerstone are really good. People are coming to Jesus. Groups are launching with great strength. Family ministry is exciting and reaching so many new people. Attendance is up. Finances are strong. Baptisms are consistent. Those sort of metrics are good. But we don’t live only by circumstantial markers. If God is going to use us to multiply, to truly become a church of growing disciples making growing disciples (each of us, in our own circles, and by God’s power), then we have to be aware that an equally determined (albeit not equally strong) power aims to shut us down. Here’s the list of “pray against” things I’ve shared with our team, and I welcome you to pray through these today as well.
- Difficult Losses
Losses happen, and we can’t control them. But sometimes, an unexpected death or sudden move or something similar can knock us off course. We pray against the losses, but we pray even more that we would remain focused on mission as we sort them through.
- Timely Distractions
The Enemy has a way of bringing something into our scope at just the wrong time, doesn’t he? Pray today against outside distractions in life that cause us to shift our focus away from mission to chasing things that are not our primary focus.
- Confused Vision
Our vision together is to be a church of growing disciples making growing disciples. We have much to do to accomplish that vision. And it will not happen if we get distracted and chase multiple other visions along the way.
- Moral Failure
This is damaging in any context, but perhaps especially within the church. Pray for purity and conviction for our leaders to remain steadfast.
- Relational Division
Having tensions with one another can easily become the focus when disagreements arise. We see it in the early church in Acts. Pray against relational issues becoming a primary focus in our church, but instead pray for a focus to remain on mission together in trust.
This weekend, we see the incredible example of a man on mission (Barnabas) in contrast to two early believers who allowed their own selfish pride to knock them off mission, and ultimately knock them completely out (Ananias and Sapphira). Read Acts 4 and 5 heading toward Sunday, and I’ll see you there!
Yours and His,