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A Prayer for Things that Matter

As I journaled on this day five of my sabbatical, I was struck by how easy it is to get caughtd06fc84289229d4f81afa1a472073307 up in the urgency of things that matter to me and others, but may not matter at all to God. To paraphrase a quote by our state Baptist convention Executive, Randy Davis, I am less fearful of failure than I am of succeeding at things that do not matter to Him. To that end, I am letting the Lord remind me today of the things that matter to Him and trying to establish a process of prayer in my life that will keep me focused on these things as I return to Antioch in August. This is not an exhaustive list but here is what I have been asking God to renew in me today.

  • A consuming concern for the lost. I ask, Lord, that you give me a fresh compassion for those I meet who are far from you. Let me see them as Jesus saw them, as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Help me to reorder my life in the months to come to be more gospel-centric than church-centric.
  • A holy hatred for sin. Help me, Lord, to see the results of the little sins in my life and the lives of others that ruin lives and hamper your Kingdom and grant me a greater hatred for my own sin than for the sins of others. I pray that my hatred for sin in others will be focused on the damage it does to people and that it never becomes a hatred of people who sin.
  • An unconditional love for His church. Grant me unconditional love for the church universal and help me to resist an arrogant spirit when anything happens in any church that makes my church look better than them. Help me to love the church God has allowed me to shepherd with a deeper, abiding, compassionate concern that has nothing to do with how they treat me or how I feel.
  • A compassion for the spiritually oppressed and defeated among His sheep. I ask God that you would stir in me love and only love for those believers in our fellowship and in our community who have been entrapped by sinful habits and addictions.
  • A love for and commitment to time spent with HIM. Father, please forgive me for letting busyness become a badge of courage and the approval of others be a reason to neglect my relationship with you. Remind me that time spent with you IS time spent in ministry and to let my service to you flow from that time with you.

What else comes to mind that you would add to that prayer list?

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