Worship Through Prayer – July 8, 2018

Daniel 9:18-19 says,

18 O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.
19 O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”

Just as Daniel prayed for his people, we would like to spend these next few minutes praying for local churches in our city. If you would join me as I pray, we will spend this time praying for the health and witness of Tampa churches, that our churches would magnify God locally, and to the ends of the earth.

Holy Father. Maker of heaven and earth. The universe declares Your glory. All things belong to You, as by Your hand all things were made.

You rule in perfect power and wisdom, and yet You have shown us that we were made, and redeemed, to be Your delight. Thank you for the gift of joining together to worship You today. Our body of called-out people has been redeemed by the blood of Your Son. Our salvation was purchased by His costly sacrifice on the cross. We have been given new life, and for this, oh God, we are forever indebted to You.

We were once naked before You and deserving of eternal wrath. And yet those of who are Yours were brought in and given a seat at Your table. Thank you, merciful God! We know that nothing in us made us worthy to receive Your love. And yet You have adopted us as beloved children. Your children who were once guilty, have been given clean consciences. We who were spiritually bankrupt, have been blessed with eternal riches. Thank you Lord, that we who were dead are now made alive in Christ.

Many of us this week have looked at the world, our flesh and the Devil, and felt as though we are losing the battle. God, let us remember that Your Spirit within us in far greater. Give us endurance even now as we battle our sinful thoughts. Help us this week, and even now, to swim against the tides of the spirit of the age. May we remember that Christ has defeated death. Rescue our hearts and our minds, that we would not be consumed by worldly thoughts and cares.

Warm our affections for You now, that we may be reminded of Your goodness as we approach You in prayer. As Your Word reminds in Hebrews 10, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

God, we acknowledge there is so much need around us. In addition to the many needs of this congregation, we are humbled to reflect on the thousands of people in Tampa who haven’t known the joy of being reconciled to You. As we consider those around us in our city, help our hearts to be more aligned with the heart of Jesus, who looked upon the crowds and saw sheep without a shepherd.

We long to see new believers knitted into the fabric of Covenant Life Church, and The Heights Church, and other congregations who proclaim the biblical gospel. We ask that those whom You call and restore to Yourself would be baptized into healthy churches that will love them, and disciple them. God, we realize it would be foolish for us to pray that You would bless Tampa in such a way, when we are unwilling to speak to people around us who desperately need to hear about You. Give us boldness this week to be generous with the gospel. May we be quick to invite people into our homes this summer. May we extend the invitation to others, to come to our corporate gatherings. We pray that as others join us, that we would offer them hospitality, that they may see the beauty of the visible church on display, and learn about the goodness of the One who is able to save.

We long to see your kingdom grow through ordinary relationships. The majority of us in this room have close family and friends who are not saved. Give us opportunities this week to share the gospel with those who desperately need the hope only You can provide. We pray for the witness of congregations scattered throughout Tampa. May the churches of South Tampa, Seminole Heights, St. Petersburg, Brandon, Clearwater, and every place in between affirm, preach, and live out the gospel. In the days ahead, we pray that Covenant Life Church, and The Heights, and other congregations would see many restored to their Creator. Give our churches confidence to speak the gospel boldly and clearly to the surrounding world.

We confess that we often think our own wisdom is best, and as a result spurn Your wise commandments and instruction. Help the churches within our city to fight the temptation to pursue growth through marketing strategies, or the wisdom of man. We know, as history has shown us, that the Great Awakening occurred in conjunction with the faithfulness of men preaching Christ crucified. May our local pastors and congregations, likewise, be committed to humbly and confidently teaching the Word of God. May our churches not appeal to itchy ears, or shy away from confronting the deceitfulness of sin or the reality of a literal place called hell. May we grow in greater submission to Your wise and perfect counsel, trusting You alone will produce the fruit of salvation.

We ask that churches in Tampa would bring greater influence into our communities. We pray that those who have found their identity in the LGBT community would be loved so well by churches in their neighborhood that they would instead look to the cross. We long for our neighborhoods to so be filled with healthy churches that an adult entertainment industry has no place. In a city where so many people are exploited, we would love to see people be treated with dignity and respect, as image-bearers of an infinitely good God.

God, we pray that churches in our city would care for our members well, as we long to see people grow as disciples of Jesus. May our congregations be filled with men and women who love to learn and grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God. May we not be divided into factions or cliques that serve our sinful self-interests. Help us to seek relationships with those who are weak and broken. May young Christians be quick to learn from those who have acquired years of wisdom in the faith.

Oh God, give our churches unity amid diversity, that our congregations would reflect the future makeup of heaven. May Christians of all ethnicities – Black, White, Hispanic, Asian – find unity at the cross. God, we know it is foolish to ask You to reconcile people in Your congregations, if we are unwilling ourselves to befriend those who look different than us. May our churches not follow the pattern of our ancestors, but take our queues from our future dwelling place in heaven.

As we long to see our churches become more generationally and ethnically diverse, we also pray that our churches would not be compelled to only look inward. May we look outward, as we long for Your name to be magnified among the nations. May Tampa be a sending city, where churches are committed to sending out pastors, church planters, and missionaries to the hard-to-reach places. We pray for short-term missions trips within other churches this summer, that the gospel would be delivered and Your name magnified. We pray that the money churches like ours gives to the Cooperative Program would be used to support the training and sending of future pastors, church planters, and missionaries, who are committed to seeing people from every tribe and tongue reconciled to an Almighty God. We recognize that we cannot reflect Your image, or fulfill the Great Commission in isolation, so help our churches to partner with others, that we may multiply, and fill the earth with more worshippers of You, until Christ’s return.

Lord, it’s our joy today to pray for the men and women at The Heights Church. We are grateful to see much fruit at this sister congregation. We rejoice whenever we get to hear of new life, as men and women are brought in and baptized into this local church. Thank You for providing them with a building on Hillsborough Avenue where they can preach the gospel faithfully, and train up fellow saints. We thank you for their City Groups, where men and women are able to study the Bible, pray, and share their lives with one another.

May You show The Heights Church favor in the days ahead, as they seek to live out their mission statement, “to make disciples who treasure Christ, love the church, love the city, and love the nations.” Help them continue to raise up disciples who love Jesus, and grow to be sanctified more and more into His likeness. God, may their church continue to grow to be filled with men and women who know there is no greater good than You. May their members love the church and serve her faithfully. Raise up from within The Heights many who will be teachers, and evangelists, and fellow ambassadors. We ask that You would raise up others from within who would be sent out as ministers of reconciliation, bringing the good news to the ends of the earth.

It is such a joy today, Father, to hear from our dear brother, Drew Tucker. I love this man deeply, God, and it is truly a joy to sit under his preaching of Psalm 36. Many of our members have received such direct benefit from this brother. Thank you for his shepherd’s heart, and his commitment to proclaim the truth of Your Word to Your people.

God, if You hadn’t led him and Jessi to Tampa more than eight years ago to plant Covenant Life Church, I don’t know where I would be today. Thank you for Your mercy in using Him to disciple me. Thank you for letting Melanie and I know each other in the Tucker Community Group, and for the years we personally benefited from his selfless care.

We ask that You would bless Drew and Jessi in their marriage. Allow them to continually display Your glory in their Christlike love for one another, and in the way they care for their home as parents. We pray for their children, Rhett and Emma, that they would grow to behold the wonder and the riches and the glory of God. We also ask for Your favor on the Hess and Whedbee families. Show Doug and Marissa, and Brandon and April grace, as they lead and love their fellow members at The Heights. 

Lord, we rejoice that Your children at Covenant Life, and The Heights Church, and from so many churches throughout the earth will know the joy of being united as citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We look forward to the promises of heaven, and anticipate the day we will gather around the throne, worshiping the One who was, and is, and is to come.

Bless our time today, and may it be sweet. May we be fed and nourished by Your Word.

In the matchless, glorious name of Christ we pray, Amen.

Posted on: July 8, 2018 - 10:25AM

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