Summary: Taking Apostle Paul's prayer to Ephesus as the foundation in this sermon I pray seven things that our churches desperately need!
Seven Things to Prayer for the Church
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
2020 was one of the most difficult years the world has faced in quite some time. The world was caught off guard by COVID-19, a disease that strikes indiscriminately and shows no partiality to anyone. And despite having to sanitize frequently, wearing a mask that irritates my sinuses and having to dance between orange and yellow … church closed and open, I cannot help but feel overwhelmed with blessings! Over five years ago I got a text to meet with your pulpit committee that has since led me on a journey to teach and watch you my family grow! At Christmas time you showered me with gifts of sweets, money, and cards of thanks that made my soul just about burst with love! I wondered what I could as your pastor give to show my undying love for all of you and then I stumbled across a prayer of Apostle Paul to the church of Ephesus. By the grace of God, I have modified this prayer so that like Paul I might tell you my family seven things I am asking God to grant to you today and for the rest of your lives!
One: Prayer of Faith
Hebrews 11:1 states, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” I praise God that even though you have not physically seen Jesus you believe in Him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8) of having received every spiritual blessing in our Lord (Ephesians 1:3). Despite many of you going through trials and tribulations I praise God that you continue to chase after your first love, Jesus, so that by your patience you might attain a higher level of spiritual maturity (James 1:2-4). I pray that your faith continues to grow so that you might be like king David and with God’s help slay the Goliath’s in your lives, be like Noah and Lot whose testimony was unshakeable in the midst of worldly unbelief, be like Joseph, Job, Paul and Silas who despite their overwhelming tribulations rejoiced in the Lord, and be like Abram and Isaiah who despite not knowing the ministry path asked of them were willing to shout out “here I am take me” (Genesis 22:1; Isaiah 6:8). May your faith be greater than a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) so that when the devil throws mountains of doubt upon your shoulders you will not grow weary (Isaiah 40:31) but with God’s help throw off the shackles of sin that so easily entangles and cast them into the sea (Hebrews 12:1-3)! Since all things are possible with Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13) may you never stop believing that you can do miracles greater than Christ did on earth … all you need do is ask in the will of the Father and it shall be given unto you (John 14:12-14)! Above all I pray my dear beloved family, never stop believing that His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and by your faith you are justified (Ephesians 2:8-9) to remain God’s very own children forever (John 1:12)!
Two: Prayer of Love
May the whole community continue to hear about your love that is patient, kind, does not envy, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered and keeps no records of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, may you continue to bear with and even celebrate each other’s differences so that the bond of peace we so richly enjoy might last and be a perpetual witness of our allegiance to He who bought us at a price (Ephesians 4:2-3; 1 Corinthians 6:20)! May you be “kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, for love covers a multitude of sins” (Ephesians 4:32). May God set a seal of love upon your heart so strong that not even the greatest injustices of this world can not provoke you to see them as perpetrators and curse them, but may you see the evilest of this world merely as fallen image bearers whom Christ’s arms are still open wide (James 3:9-10; 2 Peter 3:9)! May our community and the whole world know you are Christians because you love in word and deed (1 John 3:18, John 13:35). For those whom God placed under my care may you know that my love you continues to grow and that I am eager to serve you (1 Peter 5:2-4) by rejoicing when you rejoice, grieving when you grieve (Romans 12:15), feeding you when you are hungry (Matthew 25:35), praying for and listening to your needs and above all may I fearlessly and truthfully proclaiming to you the word of God (Ephesians 6:18-20). No matter how much my love for you, never forget that God’s love is infinitely greater for “God so loved this world gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16). May you always know how precious the steadfast love of God is by continually taking refuge and rejoicing under the shadow of His wings (Psalms 36:7)!