Starting this past Sunday, our deacons are taking turns—two by two—to pray for me and for our church during the preaching time. They situate themselves in our fellowship hall, directly beneath the pulpit to pray. Below is a sample prayer guide I give them to help them pray through what I’m preaching.
Deacon Prayer Guide
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Thank you so much for sacrificing your time to pray for us during the service. Our people need this, you need this, and I definitely know I need this. More and more, I recognize my dependence on Christ in preaching, pastoring, and leading this church to where He called me—and there’s no place on the planet I’d rather be.
This morning, I will preach out of the familiar book of Jonah. Jonah is a complex character—running from God’s call, then recognizing God’s saving power, preaching from mixed motives, then angry that God is a saving God.
The title of the sermon is “A God Who’s Not Confined.” We cannot run away from God’s presence, resist his power, nor rebel against His passion for all people—even the brutal, cruel Ninevites, sworn enemies of Israel.
Below is a prayer guide to go through during the preaching time.
- Pray that God would give me clarity of thought and speech for the clear Word to go forth (2 Timothy 3:16-4:5), and that the Spirit would give the church ears to hear (Revelation 2-3).
- Read Jonah 1.
- Pray that when God calls us as individual believers or as a church to do something, we would run toward His will and presence, and not away from it.
- Pray that God would work in an around us to keep us in His will, even if it’s rough (like the tempest on the sea).
- Pray that even pagans and those who worship false gods would see the power of God in creation, and seek Him in salvation—like those men on that ship who ultimately confessed worship to the living God (1:16).
- Pray all would see God’s working in their lives to bring them to Himself in Christ.
- Pray all would repent and confess that Christ is king and Lord over all aspects of life (“For you cast me into the deep… all your waves and your billows passed over me.”)
- Pray that no matter where people are, they are not too far from God’s saving presence and power (“Yet I shall again look upon your holy temple (v. 4b). . . “My prayer came to you, into your holy temple” (v. 7)).
- Pray for those who have resisted God’s call to salvation and to ministry would repent and go as God calls again (3:3).
- Pray your pastor and all would speak God’s message, no matter how silly or somber the world sees it, and we would be enthralled at the glory and power of the Word of God to change hearts even today.
- Pray that hearts would be broken, and the hardest hearts would repent from the eternal disaster to come—from the kings and presidents on down.
- Pray for the hearts of our people who say they are Christians, yet in their heart of hearts want justice accomplished rather than grace extended to enemies.
- Pray that our people would see the passion that God has for His glory among all peoples.
- Pray that we would never believe we deserve His grace while others do not (be it the common grace of a plant, or the special grace of salvation). Pray we would all see we are sinners, deserving nothing but the hottest hell, and yet Christ comes to redeem us from what we deserve. Pray we would not care about our own comfort more than the eternal discomfort of the nations—or our neighbors.
This will be a work in progress, but hopefully you will get the idea. I encourage you to listen to the sermon once it’s posted online so you can hear what you missed and hear what you prayed for. May we continue to connect with our Lord Jesus in prayer. He is risen and He hears us, interceding for us even now. Be encouraged! God’s got great things in store.
Knowing these men pray for me during the service gives my heart no end of joy. So, please pray for our prayer life. That with the Word is the fuel that fires the Great Commission Engine.