• What to Pray When You Don’t Know What to Pray

    One of the most frustrating things can be prayer. I know we all struggle to find the time to pray but do you find that when you do pray that sometimes you don’t know what to pray?I find this especially true that I don’t know what to pray for the people at my church.

    One of the things that I do when I don’t know what to pray is pray one of Paul’s prayers (e.g. 1 Thessalonians 1:3:9-13 ,2 Thessalonians 1:1-12, Colossians 1:9-14, Philippians 1:9-11, Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:14-21, Romans  15:14-33). What could be better than praying the prayers that are in scripture for each other?

    The prayer that I like most our of the above list is Ephesians 3:14-21. It reads:

    14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

    20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

    The two things Paul is praying for is firstly, that the Ephesians would have Christ dwell in their heart more. This is akin to asking God to change their life so they are more centered on him. And secondly, that they would know the love Christ more and more. What great prayers to pray!

    Next time you are praying why not pray this prayer for the people at your church if you get stuck for things to pray for?

    You may also like:

    What I Wish I Did When I Planted Resolved Part 5: Worked on my Preaching and Prayer Life More

    What I wish I did when I started fulltime ministry

    A prayer that all Christian leaders need to pray

  • Spiritual warfare is more boring than you think

    Spiritual warfare is a constantly thorny topic. There seems to be people who see a demon under every bush and every spiritual attack looks like a scene from Paranormal Activity 4. (Which looks AWESOME by the way!)  Then there is other people who seem to downplay  spiritual warfare so much that it seems like we are to discount the passages in the Bible which speak of it.

    So how does spiritual warfare actually work?

    The answer is spiritual warfare is much more boring than you think! Here is what Kevin DeYoung says about it in his great book The Hole in our Holiness:

    “But we could also talk more broadly about faith in the Word of God. That’s essentially what spiritual warfare is: believing the truth of God instead of the lies of the Devil. Satan is the father of lies, and his basic weapon is deception. He lies about God. He lies about your sin. He lies about you forgiveness. He lies about the Bible. Resisting the Devil has nothing to do with haunted houses or spinning heads. It has to do with faith, trusting in truth instead of lies. That’s what Ephesians 6 is all about. Put on the belt of truth. Take up the shield of faith. Wield the sword of the spirit. In spiritual warfare you stand fast against the schemes of the devil by standing fast on the Word of God.”

    Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness, 87-88

    So, how do you engage in spiritual warfare? Believe the Gospel. Read your Bible and pray. Tell people about Jesus. Be active in church. Listen to sermons for encouragement not for entertainment and critique. Read a good gospel centered book that will help you love Jesus more. Then you will be in the thick of spiritual warfare.

    Because, in the end, spiritual warfare is more boring than you think.

    What do you think about spiritual warfare?

    You may also like:

    John Piper on Why Doctrine Matters

    Keeping your word

    If you don’t praise other do you functionally deny the Gospel?

  • The Clergification of the church

    “Most Protestant churches today resemble pre Reformation Roman Catholic churches” – Ed Stetzer

    As I said in my last blog I had the privilege of sitting down and asking Tim Sims and Ed Stetzer a bunch of questions about church growth and leadership. They both said is that most churches have an underutilized laity. If there is something important in our churches to be done we get a paid member of the clergy to do it. This is why Ed thinks that “Most Protestant churches today resemble pre Reformation Roman Catholic churches” because we have an unbiblical clergy/laity divide where we only trust those with a theological degree and they have to have attended the right theological college!

    The issue here is that we have not only been unbiblical because we, as evangelicals, believe that every Christian is has gifts to bring to the church (1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, Romans 12:1-8). But keeping important ministry to the paid clergy disempowers the laity. It is says that you aren’t good/smart/godly enough to do these things but please be on the supper roster!

    While I was on holidays I had the revelation that we at Resolved have been bad at asking people who aren’t elders to be joining in discipling each other and leading ministries. Since then we have started to be on the front foot with asking people to be involved in ministries and discipling each other.

    What has been the result?

    I have seen people more enthusiastic about Resolved, people getting together to read the bible and pray together, people encouraging each other to tell their friends and family about Jesus and invite them to church. I have heard people say how they feel more valued now and how they feel like Resolved is more their church than ever before!

    I was arrogant. I thought if I preached well and we had a good service in a cool location people would be enthusiastic about church and they would invite their friends to church.

    I was wrong.

    Let’s not have our people spectate let’s have them participate!

    Not only is it biblical but it will empower them and they be more enthusiastic about Jesus, our churches and reaching the lost!