This pastoral prayer was prayed by John Rogers, one of PBC’s elders, during our worship gathering on September 27, 2020.
We thank you Father for the privilege of coming before you in prayer. And as we have just read, we do so in humble submission knowing that for the sake of Christ, you always hear our prayers.
Revelation 20:11 says, “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
We thank you Father for this ominous description and reminder of the Final Judgement. We thank you because if it were not for your grace, we would suffer the same torment. The only difference between us who believe and those who will be condemned at the great white throne judgment is the unconditional love and unmerited favor of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We also thank you for this passage because it reminds us of the responsibility we have to go to our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, anyone you place in our path with a sense of urgency to share your love evidenced in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to go into the world and invite those who do not know you to come to the salvation that has already been prepared by Christ.
Father we pray that you will grant PBC a biblical understanding of Church discipline. We recognize that this is a very difficult area of doctrine and one hard to practice. We also recognize it rests upon the divine authority of Scripture and is vital to the purity, power, progress, and purpose of your church.
Help us Father to realize that church discipline is totally consistent with the basic purposes of the church—evangelism and edification. Evangelism ministers to those without the church who are in bondage to sin to bring them to faith in Christ. The edification process is designed to build up believers so they can be conformed to the image and character of Christ. Church discipline as a part of the edification process ministers to those within the body of Christ who are dominated by some area of sin so they can experience liberation from its power through fellowship with Christ.
Also, Father help to understand that discipline in the church is not punishment - it is designed to train and restore. Discipline is further based on the holy character of God and a failure to exercise discipline in the church indicates a lack of awareness and concern for the holiness of God. And help us Father to also realize that the world observes the behavior and life of the church and when the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity.
We lift up our Sister Church: Catalyst Church and Pastor Jeff Mingee. Father, I ask that you help Pastor Mingee and the other elders navigate the challenges we currently face with Covid-19 and the political and racial divisiveness in our nation that can migrate into our churches. Help them to shepherd their flock well maintaining unity and a focus on you.
We pray that you would bless them with your presence this morning and that you would speak through Pastor Mingee the truth and power of your word. We pray that you would challenge them in their walk with you and encourage them to persevere. And for those who are in their worship service this morning who do not know you, I pray that today would be the day of salvation for them.
Father we pray for an awareness of the harm that sexualization is doing to our nation. And as it continues to grow we see that there are few areas in our culture that are not impacted in some way by the trend to portray everything with sexual implication and attributes. Along with an awareness, we pray for wisdom in how best to stop this trend and restore appropriate moral and ethical values.
We especially lift up young girls who are being challenged in what types of clothes they wear, what behavior is appropriate and what is not, and what interaction with boys/men is appropriate and what is not.
We even see this creeping into our churches where the traditional Christian view of marriage as being between one man and one woman are not being upheld. We see this huge collision taking place between traditional Christian views concerning God’s plan for human sexuality, marriage, and gender and a moral revolution being driven by what is viewed as sexual liberation. Help us not to become indifferent in this struggle, but remain true to your Word. So we pray for our nation, for a return to Christian principles in all aspects of our culture.
We also pray for the Republic of Tajikistan. A nation of over 7 million people of which over 90% are Muslim and only about 1% are Christian and over 60% are unreached. The people of this country are suffering on so many fronts. They gained their independence from the former Soviet Union, but it came at a price. Their economic infrastructure has never fully recovered and they suffer from crime, corruption, a weak government, power shortages, debt, and domestic violence against women just to name a few.
So Father, we lift them up to you this morning. They need the hope that only comes from the saving knowledge of your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray that the Muslims would be open to hearing the gospel and would come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Preaching and distributing religious materials are very difficult there, so we pray that you would provide a way for those who have not heard about you to come to know you. The Bible has been translated into Tajik and the Jesus film is available in most local languages. So we pray that you would allow these materials and Christians who can explain it to be available to all of them. We pray for protection and growth of the relatively new Tajik Church with roughly 1,000 believers.
And now Father, I thank you for our Pastor and his love and commitment to you. I ask that you speak through Hopson this morning and challenge us with the truth and power that is in your Word and that we would listen and be obedient.