Praying for Sunday February 9

Pray Big Feb. 9th from NRH Baptist Church on Vimeo.

The Bible gives us tremendous encouragement to pray. Prayer is a time when you are able to personally communicate with the God of heaven and earth. In the pages of the biblical story, we are told one story on top of another of God taking action because people prayed. Moses prayed for the nation of Israel and God spared them despite their desire to worship a golden calf (Exodus 32-33). The prayers of Moses also persuaded God to stop fire from heaven that resulted in death for many (Numbers 11:1-3). Later, when Israel was at war with the Philistines, the prophet Samuel successfully prayed so the Israelites would succeed against their enemies (1 Samuel 7:1-14). On yet another occasion, we learn of an unnamed man who prayed for the king of Israel’s hand to be restored, and his hand was healed (1 Kings 13:1-6). Jonah prayed while in the belly of a big fish and he lived to share God’s compassion to the people of Nineveh (Jonah 2:1-10). All of these stories are included in the pages of the Bible to encourage us to pray. Indeed, James 4:2 tells us, “… You do not have, because you do not ask.”

On Sunday, February 9, North Richland Hills Baptist Church will feature our third and final offering to complete the first year of Better Together. Because of the special importance of this day, I want to suggest five ways our church family can pray together. Take time to read and reread these avenues of prayer in the coming days.

1. Pray that Christ is honored in how our church handles its business. The church of Jesus Christ has its critics and some people want to see the church fail. Knowing this, our church seeks to handle our finances with tremendous integrity and transparency. The Bible commands that pastors be people who are not greedy for money, but are eager to serve God first and others second (1 Timothy 3:3; 1 Peter 5:2). Pray with me that every transaction connected to Cross Church is done with tremendous integrity.

2. Pray for additional people to form the launch team. We have just enough people to cover the areas of responsibility needed to launch Cross Church. Yet, we need more people to assist with set up and tear down of the equipment when services begin in April at Schluter Elementary School. Join me in praying for more people to serve (Matthew 9:38).

3. Pray that our church family would be generous. While many people think successful fundraising campaigns happen because of great leadership or the excitement of the people, the reality is simple: God ultimately causes His people to give (1 Chronicles 29:6-20). When David collected an offering for the purpose of building the Temple, approximately one thousand years before Christ, David recognized that all human giving is from the hand of God (1 Chronicles 29:16).

Pray that followers of Christ everywhere would use money as a tool for the greater purposes of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Since how we handle our money is an index of our spiritual lives, pray we would give freely with the same generosity that has been given to us (Matthew 10:8). Pray with me that no one would be prevented from coming into God’s Kingdom because of our refusal to give to reach the world for Christ.

4. As you pray, remember we are involved in spiritual warfare. The Bible is clear that Satan has a territory and he is locked in conflict with God Himself. Evangelism is God’s strategy to reduce Satan’s territory by seeing people come into the light and out of the darkness (Ephesians 5:11). Our church has made efforts to start our fourth worship service (the Spanish speaking service that began in early 2013) and now a fifth worship service (Cross Church beginning in April, 2014). Both of these services reach into the darkness of Satan’s territory with the light of the gospel of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). If Satan is smart (and he is), he will not take these efforts without resistance; he will come after believers in an effort to retaliate (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, we must remain vigilant in the fight against Satan (Ephesians 6:18).

5. Pray for resolve. I first asked our church to pray for resolve back in June of 2013, and I repeat that prayer request here. Pray that God would make us steadfast through the entire process of Better Together (2 Thessalonians 1:11). Pray we would not lose heart after starting the second site on April 20, 2014. Pray for the 150 or more people who set up and tear down all the necessary pieces in the rented facility. Pray that God would bring encouragement to our hearts. Pray that we would not become weary in well-doing.

Thank you in advance for praying for this Sunday.

 

Praying for the Lost by Name

The Bible consistently speaks of two groups of people, those who know Christ and those who have rejected Christ (Matthew 25:31-41; Romans 1:16). To know Christ is to experience His love and mercy by acknowledging your sin and placing your faith in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross (Romans 5:1-2). Jesus died for sinners to experience God’s grace rather than suffer the torment of hell itself (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). This is foundational to the gospel message. Evangelical believers everywhere believe that God has commanded them to share the good news that Jesus died for sinners so each person can have the opportunity to love God and to experience His mercy (Matthew 28:18-20). We cannot rest until everyone knows the life-changing message of the gospel.

Because it is so urgent that everyone would know Christ and His mercy, I am leading our church to pray for three friends, co-workers, neighbor, or family members by name. There is maintenance praying where we pray for the physical needs of Christians and the church. But there is also frontline praying, where we pray for a zeal to spread God’s grace to the unchurched. I am calling on our church for frontline praying, where God stirs our heart and soul to see a revival His grace among people who have yet to call on Christ as Lord and Savior.

So, I am asking each person in our church family to join me in praying for three unchurched persons. Specifically, these are three people who have yet to place their faith in Jesus Christ. This time of prayer can by done as a family, with a prayer partner, or even as you walk through your street, business area, school, or neighborhood. You can pray at home or join together during Sunday morning Bible study groups. In essence, this is a quiet time when you push away from the world to seek the Lord on behalf of your friends.

Our time in prayer is designed to invite God’s Spirit to move against Satan who desires to deceive and distort people to the truth of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4). This time is also designed for you to pray for your sensitivity to others. Yes, we are asking the Lord to draw our unchurched friends to Himself but we are also asking the Lord to grant us a renewed sense of compassion and boldness to share God’s love. I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you wisdom to know what to say when opportunities present itself (Philemon 6).

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The Cross at NRHBC

As you enter our building, you will see a cross with names on the top of it. These names were placed on the cross during a special Sunday evening prayer time on September 8. This time was devoted to praying for our unchurched friends and love ones. The names are just some of the people we are praying for in the next few months.

I invite and challenge you to add the names of your friends from school, co-workers, family members, and neighbors to the cross as well in the coming days. I want to see this cross completely filled in the coming days. Place the names of children who have yet to know Christ. Write down the names of people through our bus ministry who have yet to profess Christ. Or, jot down the names of Spanish-speaking friends who are near to you that God may add to our Spanish-speaking service at 10:45.

So take a few minutes before or after worship in the new few Sundays and quietly place the names of people you are praying for on the cross. Write the names down on business card and place this in a prominent place to remind you to pray for them regularly. Join me in asking God to draw much of the mid-cities of Dallas/Fort Worth to Jesus Christ in the days to come (John 6:44). Examine carefully the cross as you pass by it and consider it a holy place, dedicated to God. Pray with me for the names found there and pray that we would experience a revival of God’s spreading God’s rich grace toward sinners (Matthew 9:35-37).

Let’s saturate our community, streets, businesses, schools, and family in prayer. Let’s ask the Lord to give us a compassion and zeal to reach the lost in the DFW metroplex. Let’s see an awakening where multitudes of people experience the grace of God in the coming days.

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