Where has the Church failed? It seems that not only have we been ailing and failing—we have fallen. First, our vision of the church has declined. This is primary. In practical language, our members place a low priority on strong and faithful assembling, though this is what the Lord really has in mind for His plan. People can miss meetings without any twinge of conscience. The book of Hebrews flashes the danger signals, and this is one of them: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (10:25).
Today, we not only see the signs of His coming, we can actually “see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). We should be assembling more faithfully, not less. God’s Word here is a very earnest word.
Second, with that decline in assembling, the prayer meeting has also suffered. Instead of the prayer meeting being a concern for the entire assembly, it has often dwindled to the care of the few. It is generally considered to be an adjunct to the otherwise busy ministry work. This prayerless condition has now become so general that it is dreadfully specific—totally unlike the Jerusalem congregation!
Third, the Great Commission has also suffered and been weakened in this decline. The result is that we are heavy on the “Go ye” of the gospel but we are failing in other facets of it— without even seeming to be aware of it. The Great Commission includes many commissions—not just one. It is a command with many commandments. We need to see it whole.
We must “repair the breaches.” God remedies spiritual ills by revival and renewal. Renewal comes at the point of the fall. God’s call to repentance always brings us back to beginnings. The blueprint shows that the Great Commission with all its varied commissions, like so much building material, was meant for the church God was building in Jerusalem. They will all be “fitly framed together . . . for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” The church is the new abode of His glory, His new method for fulfilling His commissions—and the only creation having all the dimensions needed for worldwide evangelization. When we study the book of Acts, we see God’s methods for fulfilling the Great Commission.
Lord of the Harvest, I repent of my prayerlessness and the lack of prayer in my congregation. Spark a revival in me, and within our church so that our hearts will burn for what is upon Your own heart! Awaken us to the power of Your presence in our midst so that we might be fully aware of the dark and lost condition of our city, our nation…and the world. May we respond to Your call to go into the world to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all You have commanded us to do!
–Adapted from With One Accord in One Place: The Role of Prayer in the Early Church by Armin Gesswein. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God that birth and conception are miraculous and a special gift from God. Thank him for planning all your days before you were even born (Ps. 139:16). Confess any dissatisfaction over the gifts and abilities God has given you. Commit yourself to God daily and, like Paul, be content in whatever situation he has placed you (Phil. 4:11). Ask God to bring personal peace as a member of your family.
Pray that children in your family circle and among your friends may be blessed with godly parents who are good examples and who discipline them in love (Prov. 22:6).
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