Pastor Bob O'Bannon
God can do whatever He wishes, whenever He wishes, and however He wishes to do it. But very often, when God does something, He does it because His people have prayed for it to happen.
At our annual congregational meeting this past Monday, I opened the meeting by issuing a challenge to the members of New Life — to give special attention to praying for the life and ministries of our church this year.
Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica: "To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling. . . " (2 Thess. 1:11). He wrote to the church in Colossae: “We have not ceased to pray for you. . ." (Col. 1:9). And he wrote to the church in Ephesus: "I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers . . ." (Eph. 1:16).
It’s clear that Paul was devoted to praying for local congregations, because he knew that if God’s people were going to live worthy of God’s calling to them; if their service was going to be fully pleasing to him; and if their ministries were going to possess the spirit of wisdom and understanding, it was going to require prayer to make it happen.
The same thing is true for us here at New Life:
If we want Sunday morning services to be vibrant encounters with the living God, occasions when we behold the glory of our Redeemer in our midst, and then depart with hearts filled with faith and joy, then we must pray for it.
If we want New Life to be known for its loving, welcoming and accepting community, and that people would forge strong bonds of friendship and fellowship at this church, then we must pray for it.
If we want our outreach to the poor and needy in our community to bear fruit for God’s glory, then we must pray for it.
If we want to mature as disciples of Christ and deepen in our understanding of the whole counsel of God, and if we want our children to do the same, then we must pray for it.
If we want people to come to faith in Christ through the ministries of New Life, the work of our missionaries and the outreach of our church plant (City Hope Fellowship), then we must pray for it.
What if all of the people of New Life were united in praying for these things? What might God do? How might our church grow? How many people would be reached? How might the world be changed?
My personal commitment this year, and I invite you to join me in this, is to pray for one of our core values every day of the work week. The schedule could look like this:
Monday — Pray for our Sunday morning worship services (Core Value: Adoration).
Tuesday — Pray for the fellowship of the New Life community (Core Value: Belonging).
Wednesday — Pray for our outreach efforts to the community (Core Value: Compassion).
Thursday — Pray for our teaching and discipleship ministries (Core Value: Discipleship).
Friday — Pray for our efforts to reach unbelievers with the Gospel (Core Value: Evangelism).
One final suggestion for how 2018 can be a year of prayer for us: join us for our monthly prayer meetings on the last Sunday of each month at 6 pm in the conference room. This is not a worship service, but a simple and informal meeting where we share concerns and thanksgiving with one another and then call upon God to hear us and deliver us. Meeting lasts about an hour. Next meeting will be Sunday Feb. 25.
There are so many things that we in our own limited power simply can not make happen: we can’t make revival happen; we can't soften people’s hearts; we can't convert people to Christ. But we know the One who can, and He invites us to call out to him. Remember: "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16).