We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. Col. 1:3-6
Gracious heavenly Father, on this first Sunday of Lent, we bring our church families before you, with all their brokenness, baggage and beauty. It’s not only a privilege, but a central calling to pray without ceasing for one another in the body of Christ. For until the day Jesus returns, the church is your chosen means for revealing your glory, extending your grace, and advancing your kingdom. No wonder she is constantly being assailed by the world and assaulted by darkness.
In keeping with the way Paul prayed for every church he planted, we ask you to inundate, saturate, and liberate our churches by the gospel of your incomparable grace—new church plants and aging communities alike. There’s no other power, motivation or resources sufficient for the task you’ve given to us—your beloved people.
By the most-glorious gospel, bear great fruit in our midst, Father. Deepen and strengthen our faith in Jesus. It’s not the size of our faith but the object of our faith that matters most, so keep revealing more and more of Jesus’ beauty to us. May our boast be in his work, not ours—in his “It is finished!”, not in our “We’ll try harder”. May the name of Jesus be the most heard, loved, and trusted name in our churches.
By the all-powerful gospel, make us great lovers. By your mercy and grace, give us love for all the saints. Help us to love one another as Jesus loves us—the surest and most necessary mark of our discipleship. Tear down our divisions. Rescue us from our prejudices. Free us from all petulance and pettiness. Enable us to demonstrate the difference the gospel makes in our worship, in our conflicts, in seasons of disconnect and delight. Don’t let us ever get used to loving poorly.
By the hope-filled gospel, liberate our hands, hearts, and resources for the work of your kingdom in our cities and among the nations. With us or without us, the gospel will continue to bear fruit and grow throughout the world. We want it to do so with us, Father. By the life-giving gospel, revive us, transform us, and free us for your sovereign and saving purposes. So very Amen we pray, with longing hearts and great anticipation, in Jesus’ exalted name.