First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4 CSB)
Around this time of year, we usually start to prayerfully consider what God has for our church in the year ahead. We work on calendaring events, scheduling the sermon series, and praying for God to use our churches to do even greater things for His glory.
As 2019 comes to a close and 2020 rapidly approaches, I find myself in deep thought and focused on the study of prayer.
So consider this me sending you my thoughts and prayers, if you will.
- Paul’s charge to Timothy that prayer should be of first importance is challenging. I want make prayer more of a priority in my life over the next year. The longer I am in ministry, the clearer it becomes to me that ministry is more supernatural than strategic.
- Paul urges Timothy that “petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone” — even for kings and all those who are in authority. Paul and Timothy did not live under the authority of godly and compassionate kings. They lived under the reign of Nero and corrupt high priests. Next year, I want to pray for everyone.
- Paul challenges Timothy to pray on purpose. We are to pray prayers that contribute to our own godliness. We are to pray for our lives to be lived in such a way that we point people to our Savior, Jesus Christ. I want to pray big prayers next year. Prayers for salvation. I want a prayer life that lines up with the heart of my Savior, “who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
- In full transparency, one of my struggles is allowing the work of ministry to take priority over my responsibilities and opportunities as a husband and father. I need the Lord’s help, and I am asking him to help me love and lead my family well. The Lord has blessed me well beyond what I deserve with an incredible family. Help me slow down, Lord, and be the man you have called me to be at home.
- Based on some in-depth demographic research, there are roughly 60,000 lost souls within a three-mile radius of the church I pastor. Our community has twice the national average of single-parent households, hundreds of children who only get food when they are at school, and our county ranks No. 5 in Florida for the number of positively identified cases involving human trafficking. There is so much darkness to push back. “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.” One of my prayers for 2020 is for “the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.”
- For a few years now, I have been praying Scripture over the lost in my life by name. I found these prayers in Neil Cole’s book, Cultivating a Life for God. These are prayers that have been placed on my heart and that I have felt strongly burdened to lead my congregation in as well. I want to become even more dedicated to these prayers in 2020.
- I pray that you draw them to yourself (John 6:44).
- I pray that they will seek to know you (Acts 17:27).
- I pray that they will hear and believe the Word of God for what it really is (1 Thess. 2:13).
- I ask you, Lord, to prevent Satan from blinding them to the truth (2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 2:25-26).
- Holy Spirit, I ask you to convict them of sin and the need for Christ’s redemption (John 16:7-14).
- I ask that you send someone who will share the gospel with them (Matt. 9:37-38).
- I also ask that you give me or someone else the opportunity, the courage, and the right words to share with them (Col. 4:3-6).
- Lord, I pray that they will turn from sin and follow Christ (Acts 17:30-31; 1 Thess. 1:9-10).
- Lord, I pray that they will put all their trust in Christ (John 1:12; 5:24).
- Lord, I pray that they will confess Christ as Lord, grow in faith and bear fruit for your glory (Rom. 10:9-10; Col. 2:6-7; Luke 8:15).
Lastly, I am praying for you. I am praying that God will continue to raise up replanters to make disciples who make disciples that make the community noticeably better.,