- ReadWhat are you for?
It's good to know what you're against and where you draw lines. It's better to know what you are for and how to cross them.
What do you stand for? What are the positive values in your life? What positive values are important in discerning our church's next season of life? Do we want to be known as a church who is "for" or who is "against"?
If you have a conviction about what you are for, then take time this week to pray like this: Pray that God reveals whether that conviction is from himself or not. If it's not, pray that he transforms your heart and mind. If it is, give him thanks! When you're done praying, take action and do something that tangibly reinforces that positive value you are for.
If you aren't sure what you are for, take time to pray like this: Pray that God would impress upon you what's most important to you in life. Pray that he gives you blessed assurance (it's a gift of God)! And if he makes that most important value known to you, then take action and tell someone about it!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- ReadPraying for DiscernmentBeing open to being His
One of most important postures to discern God's will for your life is this: being open to being his.
So as we begin discernment together, it's important that we find ways of being open to change. We can practice posturing ourselves to be changed in our prayer life - and that's our goal this week.
Pray that God will change you in little ways. Maybe your prayer will look something like one of these:
- God would you recenter my attention on my family and away from work.
- God would you remove the temptation I have to that little snack I know I shouldn't eat.
- God would hold me accountable to praying at the dinner table tonight.
- God would you grant me the energy to call or visit a person that I love this week.
- God would you remove the judgmental thought I had and reveal to me the value that person brings to my life.
When we're ready for God to take control of the little things, we'll be prepared for Him to take control of the big ones too.
Practice being changed this week. Be open to being His.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
- ReadFor the World
It is tempting - especially in these early days of discernment - to eagerly pray for answers. Answers for our church and answers for each of us.
But what occurs to me is that our faith is fundamentally a selfless one, not a selfish one. The story of God fulfilled in the life and work of Jesus teach us one thing clearly - living my life is about blessing others' lives. The "other" is always first in the Kingdom of God.
And so it ought to be in prayer too.
Therefore on this first week of discernment prayer, let us not pray for ourselves, but for others.
Pray for other churches who are discerning (maybe you know one?).
Pray for churches who are not discerning - that God may bless their ministries into the future.
Pray for churches around the world that are currently or may some day be in connection with us through our denomination.
Imagine all the questions and anxieties you may have about this decision, and pray that all other people who are living similar experiences would receive responses from God today.
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."