In light of the national tumult last week, we had a special time of prayer in our worship services at the Shiloh Church yesterday.
In fact, it was our joy to swap pastors with our brothers and sisters at the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. Dr. Mac Brunson sent several pastors to pray and worship with us, as several of our pastors did the same with First Baptist. It was a simple, practical, yet important way for us to stand up for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and stand together in spiritual together during these critical times.
Beyond praying together in our worship services, I wanted to help our congregation think about what and how to pray about the racism, justice, guns, sorrow, anger, and fear that have gripped up this week. To this end, I shared seven prayer targets for our church to focus on in prayer.
[Tweet “The world at its worst needs the church at its best.”]
- Pray for suffering and mourning families. The families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille need our prayers, as well the families of the police officers involved in their shootings. The families of fallen Dallas officers – Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael J. Smith, and Michael Krol – need our prayers, as well as the families of the eleven other shooting victims. With Christian love and sympathy, me must pray for all who have been directly affected by the events of the last week.
- Pray for the pains of racism to be healed. Racism has always been and remains a painful reality in our country. Unfortunately, we often foolishly expect healing by putting Band-Aids on the disease. But true healing does not come from changed laws, court verdicts, civil protests, more education, or economic reform. Racism is a sin problem that can only be healed as the gospel changes hearts and minds. The power of racism is not stronger than the power of the cross. Let us pray a revival in our day that leads to faith in Christ and love for our neighbor.
- Pray for all governmental authorities. Scripture commands us to pray for all who are in high positions, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2). The President needs our prayers. So do the presidential candidates. We need to pray for our senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, and city councilmen. Most especially, let us pray for police officers who are on the front lines of the tension in our cities. Pray they would protect and serve with justice, compassion, and wisdom.
- Pray for local churches in troubled cities and around the country. The world at its worst needs the church at its best. The local churches in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas need our prayers, as they live, serve, and witness in the midst of those troubled communities. The same is true for churches in cities throughout our country. Pray that the church would be the church, making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Pray for justice and peace in our land. Much of the uprising around our country is rooted in a sense of injustice in the legal and governmental system. Let us pray that that justice will prevail. Let us pray that righteous people will make righteous decisions. Let us pray that peace will prevail in our communities, cities, and country.
- Pray for an open door for the gospel. People need God. And they can only find him through saving-faith in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Pray that during these critical times, the Lord would open a door for the gospel, so that lost people may hear and believe the good news of Jesus Christ. In these dark times, may the light of the gospel shine bright. May we as Christians be bold to share the good news. And may many lost and weary souls find their way home to God through faith in Christ.
- Pray for the Shiloh Church to be light and salt. Christ has called us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are to let our light shine before men, so that they may see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16). Pray for the Shiloh Church (and every church) to faithfully declare the trust of Jesus Christ and faithfully demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. May the Lord use us to influence our city with the gospel to the glory of God!