(This is actually a cross-post, and I hope no one minds but it's what I'm about today...)
As reformation day is upon us, you and I are going to read a lot of personal reflections in the next few days about what this day actually means to various people. To some people it means quite a bit, as it marks a truly significant day in the history of the Christian church. To other people, it means very little and they might even try to tell you it means nothing, since it has no importance in their own lives or their own understanding of history.
Some say the reformation was a failure - as it didn't reform the church in Rome.
Some say we need a new reformation - as the modern church is corrupt in numerous ways.
Some just don't care one way or another and couldn't tell you anything about the events that led up to, or that were significant about the reformation at all.
It occured to me recently, what might happen if we did have another reformation, in our day? What would be the outcome, if a young man nailed a list of 95 things dreadfully wrong with the evangelical church, to a local church door? More than likely, he'd be derided by the ecumenical crowd for pointing out those 95 things and laughed at by mega-church enthusiasts. I wonder who would really pay attention to his list of 95? Would it really matter? Would it have any kind of impact on this generation of believers, or the next generation? Would believers still be writing about the reformation of 2006, in the year 2506?
As for me personally, I'd love to see another reformation. A real one, where honorable men of God stand up for what is right and true, and reject what is ungodly and unprofitable. One where men and women would find the boldness and courage in Christ to speak up and speak out for the truth of God's word, without any matter of watering down, compromise or blending of unBiblical philosophies or practices. I'd dearly love to see that on a broad scale - all across Canada, the US, England, Europe... the world.
Recently Steve Camp posted at his blog an exhortation for believers to make this year's Reformation Day a day of fasting and prayer for reformation, repentance and revival for His church in every nation . Toward that end, brother Steve has been posting articles with this theme, that you might find a great encouragement:
- - Everybody Wants Reformation...but who is willing to let goods and kindred go?
- - The Burden for Reformation and Revival Prayer, Contrition, and Confession
- - The Foundation of Reformation and Revival... a right view of the Lord Jesus Christ
- - The Passion of Reformation: Our Great Salvation chosen by God; sanctified by the Spirit; redeemed by the Son
- - Truth Necessary for Reformation/Revival...recovering the sufficiency and authority of Sola Scriptura
- - The Barrier to Reformation and Revival...cherishing iniquity in our hearts
- - The Heart of the Reformation: the Doctrines of Grace our joy, hope and confidence - salvation is of the Lord!
I would greatly encourage you to read these posts, and let them bless (and convict) your heart.
The more I thought about praying for another reformation, the more I wondered what that would really look like? While it's easy to say "we need another reformation", it's a completely different matter to find yourself on your knees earnestly petitioning our Heavenly Father for it in our homes, churches, cities and countries. If you're going to pray for genuine reformation, repentance and revival, then I believe that's exactly how it should start. If you might be wondering what to pray for and who to pray for, here are some suggestions: (warning - this may change your prayer life!)
How are things going in your own life? Is your attitude in check, your faith doing okay? Are you praying daily that He might use you as a vessel of grace to minister to the needs of others?
If you're the husband, seeking God's wisdom and guidance in the leadership in your home, is always a good place to begin. Making it a matter of prayer to be attentive to your wife and children, setting the example for them through various means such as family devotions, and regular family prayer, is always a good thing to pray for as you lead in your home.
If you're the wife, have you given much recent thought to the Biblical mandate of submission? How are you doing in that area? Are you making a good and comfortable, Godly and encouraging home for your husband? Are you being the kind of wife that you know He's called you to be according to His word? Are you praying for your husband every day?
Your children & extended family
How is your example to your children, your siblings, your parents? For your children, you are in direct authority over them, and in that authority bears a great responsibility to raise them up according to His word, and set the example for them to follow after as they grow up. Parents must take this responsibility seriously, and make it a matter of prayer ever day. Likewise with your extended family - are you taking every opportunity He affords you to minister His grace to them?
Your Christian friends and aquaintances
How are your friends doing? Do you know? Are you praying for them? Is there something you could be doing in addition to prayer that might bless them in some way? Is someone sick, in a difficult relationship, or in some other kind of unpleasant situation?
Your pastor & church leaders
Your pastor bears a great responsibility to equip you and solidly ground you in the word of God. Are you praying for him, and the other leaders in your church that they might be blessed with wisdom as they lead and teach?
You worship and sing praises to the Lord every week with these people. Do you really know them? Who is suffering? Who just had a baby and really needs help? Who among them is weak and needs ministering to right now? Would it bless someone's heart to get a card from you this week, or a phone call just to let them know you're praying for them and thinking of them? How can you better serve, in your local church?
Your church's associations & fellowships
Most churches are connected in some way with other churches, or fellowships. Is everything going well there among these fellowships & associations? If yes, then praise God! Pray that He might be pleased to continue to be gracious this way, and open more doors for the gospel's sake. If no, then pray for those areas where things aren't going so well, that He might be pleased to grant wisdom and understanding.
Other Christian churches & outreach ministries in your city
Remember these churches and ministries as well as your own. God's people come from various backgrounds and churches, and it's quite likely the family of believers in the church down the street from yours, has many of the very same needs that your own church has.
Church planting ministries
Lifting these men and women up in prayer is crucial. As a people of faith we depend on one another to remember us this way - and a church planting ministry is a much needed resource in our day. You might want to remember to pray that God's blessing be on these people as they stand firm on His word and minister to their communities and congregations.
International ministries (radio, web, direct mail, apologists, writers, lecturers, etc)
In the high-tech age we live in, almost all of us are blessed by these people, in some way. Keeping these people in prayer and thanking the Lord for their ministries is something that we shouldn't forget to do.
You probably already pray for your own church's missionaries (I hope), but what about the missionaries in my church, or the church across town? How about the missionary families? In many cases this is very dangerous work, and quite often these men and women literally put their lives in jeopardy to take the gospel to those that have not yet heard of Christ. Praying for their safety and their assurance is something we should all be doing.
In almost every form of government throughout the world, there are ungodly men and women in leadership. As people of God we are called to pray for these people, so this is something we shouldn't ever neglect to do.
While this is obviously not an exhaustive list, or any kind of all encompasing treatment on how to pray for certain people, I do hope that it gives you some ideas on who to pray for, and why. Someone once said that genuine revival starts with one person on their knees. I believe that to be true, as it will bring about reformation in your own life, and will be an edifying thing to those around you.
May we see another genuine reformation in our time, one prayer at a time.