Friday, April 25, 2014

Praying With Paul For Our Church Planters

There is a great blog post on the Anglican 1000 Blog. I am reposting it here with the hope you will all join me in praying for our plants and their planters.

Fr. John

In many of Paul’s letters he asked for the people of the church to pray for him and his endeavors for Christ. Just like in the 1st century, church planting today is extremely difficult work that needs to be supported by our prayers. Let’s look at some of Paul’s specific requests to see examples of the ways we can be praying for our planters as well.
Open Doors
Colossians 4:3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…
Paul prayed that God would provide open doors for the work of planting and the message of Christ. Pray for divine appointments for our planters that they can make the proper relationships and connections to gain traction in their mission fields. Just knowing where to start can be daunting. Pray that God will provide opportunities for sharing the Gospel and the work of the church.
Ephesians 6:19 “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…”
Paul asks for prayers that God would give him words to proclaim the Gospel. He specifically asks that God would allow him to speak 1. Fearlessly (Eph 6:20) and 2. Clearly (Col 4:4). Let us pray for our planters that both in the formal preaching of the Word of God in worship services and in every conversation that they have throughout the day that God will guide and guard their words. Pray that they can be fearless and clear.
2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.
The purpose of church planting is the proliferation of the Gospel. Paul asked that the Thessalonians pray that his message would “spread rapidly” and “be honored.” Church planting is about the multiplication of faith communities that know and teach the message of the crucified and risen Christ. Of course there are strategies and structures that are helpful in doing the work, but ultimately, it is God who brings the growth (Acts 2:471 Cor 3:6). Pray that God would bless the labor of our planters and make it fruitful.
2 Thessalonians 3:2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.
Paul knew something about the work of evil men (see Acts 14:19-202 Tim. 4:14) and he asked the Thessalonians to pray for his deliverance from them. If you are a church planting you too know something of evil men. Church planting is difficult work, fraught with conflict both worldly and spiritually. As you pray for our church planters, pray that they may be protected from those who would oppose them and that they would be rescued in times of deep struggle.
Manner of Life
Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.
Whether it was Paul, or Apollos, or someone else who wrote Hebrews, the author has a lot to say about leaders in the church. In this passage, he asks the people to pray for their manner of life. There are many temptations in the work of church planting that could cause the planter to act (or react) in a manner contrary to the Gospel. Add to that the physical and spiritual exhaustion that often comes with the work and you have what amounts to a spark in the powder room (as in powder for guns, not noses). Pray that they may be pursuing righteousness and that they may “live honorably in every way.” Pray that when they don’t, that they will have the humility to both repent and forgive. Pray for their conduct and Christian witness.
Just Pray
1 Thessalonians 5:25 Brothers, pray for us.
Paul is not always specific about what he needs prayer for, but he always exhorts the people to pray. There are so many things reasons to intercede for our planters that no list can be exhaustive. Pray for their souls, marriages, provision, encouragement, wisdom, preaching, prayer life, friendships, children, etc. etc. etc. Please, just pray for our church planters in whatever way the Spirit leads you. They need you.
What do you think: What are your thoughts on the importance of prayer in church planting?Forward in Faith North America Hosts Annual Conference with Open ArmsJuly 16, 2012 4:01 PMOne of the hallmarks of the Anglican Church in North America is our breadth of orthodox theology as well as methodological diversity.

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