“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b)
This statement from God’s Word is a fitting theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer. We all recognize that, despite the many blessings of living in this country, there is much that is broken and should be the focus of our prayers, and as followers of Jesus we recognize that only the power of God by his Spirit through the gospel can bring the significant transformation we need. So our Lord teaches us to pray to our Father who is in heaven, that his name would be regarded as holy, and that his kingdom would come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God must work. So we pray.
Prayer is not an afterthought or merely a personal and private affair. Andrew Murray has famously said, “Prayer is the highest part of the work entrusted to us, the root and strength of all other work.” All spiritual progress proceeds from prayer. It is not a last-ditch effort when all else seems to have failed. Eugene Peterson reminds us that prayer is “the most practical thing anyone can do.” He adds:
“Prayer participates in God’s action. God gathers our cries and our praises, our petitions and intercessions, and uses them. The prayers that ascend to God now descend to earth. God uses our prayers in his work. ‘Prayer,’ wrote Pascal, ‘is God’s way of providing man with the dignity of causality.’” (Eugene Peterson)
Christian, do you believe this? As with so many things in the Christian life, perhaps you can identify with me in crying out to God, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (see Mark 9:24).
One way we can express our belief, even as we work to overcome our unbelief, is to recommit to kingdom prayer. While maintenance prayer is important—asking God to provide for our and others’ personal needs and well-being (“daily bread”)—kingdom prayer is focused on the advance of God’s kingdom in the world to overcome whatever is broken: nonbelievers coming to faith, the broken places of our lives and relationships healed, spiritual transformation, global missions, justice to be done in our world, and other requests that align with God’s larger plan for the world.
To help with recommitting to kingdom prayer, our Session would encourage us all to observe the National Day of Prayer (Thursday, May 4), but to not settle for one special day; instead, the NDP can kick off a season of focused prayer for our congregation up through Pentecost (Sunday, May 28), which commemorates God pouring out his Holy Spirit on the church to empower it for his mission in the world. Would you join us in a season of kingdom prayer, asking God to work in our lives, families, communities, nation, and world for his glory? Our hope is that by committing to kingdom prayer for this three-week period, it will further instill long-term habits for kingdom prayer in our lives and in the culture of our congregation.
Here are specific ways we would encourage you to participate in this effort:
- Join us for our kingdom prayer meeting on the National Day of Prayer, May 4, from 8:00-9:00 pm. All of our kingdom prayer meetings are online and use the same link. We will extend our normal 30-minute online weekly prayer meeting to 1 hour for this special day. Parents, there will be a special prayer meeting for kids on the NDP at 4:00. Look for more details and the link in Karen’s weekly email.
- Commit to coming out to at least one additional Kingdom Prayer meeting during this period. Our elders facilitate two kingdom prayer meetings every week: Sundays and Thursdays from 8:00-8:30 pm (link).
- Focus your personal prayers on specific prayer themes each day during this period. We will focus on seven prayer themes each week, and we will provide suggested prayer points for the theme of the day through the GRC App.
We hope you will join us in personal and corporate kingdom prayer during this season, and we would ask you to commit to praying for our church, asking that God would increase our passion and commitment to participate in his mission through consistent, kingdom prayer. We look forward to seeing how God will answer our prayers!
Pastor Steve for the Session
Steve Sage is the Pastor of Discipleship at GRC.