Southeast Alabama Presbytery Invites the PCA to A Spring Week of Prayer

An invitation to the Presbyterian Church in America to engage in a week of prayer during this Spring.

The Southeast Alabama Presbytery decided to invite other Presbyteries and Sessions to join us in this special time of prayer for our denomination. Each court can set aside a week for prayer, suited to their respective schedules. Our desire is to call on elders and members to pray for the PCA asking the Lord of all grace that we would be a Church committed to a vibrant and fruitful ministry.

 

Prayer matters. The Scriptures exhort us to “constantly pray” (1 Thess. 5:17).  Our Savior teaches us to call out to our God “day and night” (Luke 8:6).  Yet our great hope is not in our prayers, but in the active intercession of our Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).

In light of these blessings in the gospel, the Discipleship Committee of the Southeast Alabama Presbytery (PCA) is hosting a week of prayer throughout our region this Spring.  We invite ruling and teaching elders, along with members of their churches, to gather together in local or host churches and use the prayer guide below as a tool to pray for the Presbyterian Church in America.

The Southeast Alabama Presbytery (SEAL) decided to invite other Presbyteries and Sessions to join us in this special time of prayer for our denomination. Each court can set aside a week for prayer, suited to their respective schedules. Our desire is to call on elders and members to pray for the PCA asking the Lord of all grace that we would be a Church committed to a vibrant and fruitful ministry.

 

Spring Week of Prayer 2019 – Psalm 121

The Lord is your creator. – Ps. 121:1-2

Leader:  Have someone read the following: 

In the midst of an uncertain world filled with many perils, dangers, and broken relationships, the musicians of Psalm 121 recognize that there are many good reasons to act as a fearful infant, but there is one grand and glorious reason to put aside childish ways (1 Cor. 13:11).  In verses one and two, we read,

 “I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”
.

If the writer is lifting his eyes, it is because they were bowed down before this moment in confusion, as his peril seems more palpable to him than the distant landscape.  As a man in need of help, the psalmist does not advocate refuge in a clear retirement plan, nor does he cater to the ephemeral romantic philosophy of denying, avoiding, and escaping his situation, the artist calls for fresh faith in his Creator, the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Leader:  Have the group pray for repentance and faith. 

Repent from the lie that God is not a good creator.  We are prone to think that God would have done things differently… if he was good.  By faith, celebrate that the scriptures teach us that our Creator is good and powerful (see Psalms 8; 19; 29; 65; 104).

The Lord is your sustainer. – Ps. 121:3-6

Leader:  Have someone read the following: 

While the Lord crafted you with unique abilities, you do not have the resources necessary for the challenges of life.  We were made to look outside of ourselves and unto our CREATOR in every moment because our Creator is also our SUSTAINER as verses three through six state:

“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night” (vs. 3-6).

The psalm takes a remarkable turn at this point.  The situation of the writer moves to the background as the reality of the Lord’s activity moves to center stage.  In every verse, the LORD is the subject of the sentence.  The creating, sustaining God is the most important person in every interaction and He will be the most important person in your life as an individual and in our corporate life as a church.  His present, preserving providence gives the believer confidence to know that “he will not let your foot be moved”, for even in darkness, “he who keeps you will not slumber”.

Leader:  Have the group pray for repentance and faith. 

Repent from the fear that denies that God is a good sustainer.  Fear, anger, and fantasies act like false prophets maligning the ever-watchful love and care of our Heavenly Father.  By faith, celebrate that our Sustainer is good and powerful (Psalms 95-97; 99).

The Lord is OUR redeemer. – Ps. 121:7-8

Leader:  Have someone read the following: 

As a community, we celebrate communion because the ever attendant Good Shepherd (John 10) is holding us in the omnipotent and benevolent palm of his hand (Rom. 8:36-39).  We boldly claim these promises for each other to be under the ever-watchful eye of our Creator and Sustainer because verses seven and eight clarify that this same God is our REDEEMER.

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore” (vs. 7-8).

The threats to our church’s communion will not only come from the world’s masquerade of “what success entails” and the Evil One’s duplicitous lies of self-sufficiency, the greatest threat to our church will be the sinful nature WE ALL bring to HIS spiritual family.  Therefore, we must daily cry out in faith that “the Lord keep us from all evil” (not just external forces, but internal corruptions as well).  Sin makes us prone to be “wise in our own eyes” (Pro. 3:7) and can easily pull our church and denomination into a vortex of self-centered manipulation cloaked in discussions about topics like music and ministry.   In contrast to such a dire situation, our church can be filled with JOY as we turn from ours sins and see by faith that “GOD will keep our life”.

Why can we read this psalm as the clarification of what GOD’s church needs?  Because this brief poem resounds with the melody of redeeming love in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  In Hebrews chapter one, we see that the Son of God is the CREATOR, who “made the world” (vs. 2), and HE is the SUSTAINER, who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (vs. 3).  Lastly, Jesus Christ is your REDEEMER as he “made purification for your sins on the cross” (vs. 3).  So we don’t merely “lift our eyes to the hills” and ask “from where does my help come?” (Ps. 121:1).  We fix our eyes on MOUNT CALVARY and see how the Heavenly BRIDEGROOM was stricken, smitten, and afflicted (Is. 53:4) so that his Bride would have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading (1 Peter 1:4).

AND we behold the EMPTY TOMB for the power of HIS church.  For God “who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11).  OUR LORD is not merely present in your situations, He is powerfully working in every circumstance to make your life and our church reflect the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-10).  Boldly we proclaim… OUR Creating, Sustaining, and Redeeming GOD will meet ALL our NEEDS in Christ Jesus our LORD. 

The confidence we have today for our individual lives, our church fellowship, and our denomination’s vitality is not what we will do in the coming year, rather our hope is based on what God the Father has done for you in Jesus Christ as He applies the gospel to our hearts through the Holy Spiritfrom this time forth and forevermore” (vs. 8).

Leader:  Have the group pray for faith and love. 

By faith, receive and rest upon the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as our only comfort.  By faith, pray for God to bless our fellowship with the Holy Spirit anew so that we would be zealously merciful in our evangelism, graciously firm in our parenting, warm and embracing in our hospitality, fervent and reverent in our worship, joyfully dutiful in our vocations, and confidently awaiting the glorious appearing of our Risen, Reigning Savior.  May gospel freedom be tangibly seen in our midst as those who are oppressed by the evil one, blinded by the fog of sin, haunted by the memory of past failures, and seduced by the mindset of the world believe in the unique person and work of Jesus to the glory of our Triune God.

Jere Scott Bradshaw
Pastor, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Auburn, AL
Chairman, Southeast Alabama Presbytery Discipleship Committee