At the Vineyard we make it a priority to seek God in prayer. Join us for 40 days of prayer during the season of Lent. Our primary goal is to know Jesus and to make Him known. Together, we faithfully seek God,trusting His power alone to create lasting impact in our lives,our church, our city and our world.
DAY 11/MONDAY/MARCH 18
joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:12-14)
Paul concludes this train of thought about walking in a manner worthy of the Lord by praying that the Colossians would joyously give thanks to him. Thanksgiving is a key part of “bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. 1:10), and we give thanks because of the very thing Paul has been praying the Colossian church would fully understand and live out: the gospel. We give thanks primarily because Jesus Christ has led us in a new Exodus, freeing us from slavery to sin and bringing us into the land of his blessing. Giving thanks, therefore …
signals the reality of [our] spiritual experience in Christ. For the giving of thanks implies that what has been received has not been earned but is a gift. Thanksgiving is thereforethe flip side of a key Pauline theological claim: that Christians are saved by and live in grace. (Douglas J. Moo)
Pray that we would be people and a church that gives thanks and that our thanksgivingwould flow out of the knowledge that we have been saved by and live in grace.
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:18)
DAY 12/TUESDAY/MARCH 19
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
A church that never breaks out of its 4 walls and into its community is essentially a light under a basket. It is our desire at Gate City Vineyard to shine light into dark places—to bless our community with our presence. We want to build a reputation in the community and relationship with the community.
Pray that we would not have a fortress mentality, where we keep the community at a safe distance out of fear or self-centeredness. Pray that God would open up more opportunities for us to use our resources (people, money, gifts, facility) to bless our community. Pray that our light would shine in the community in such a way that people would see our good works, and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Pray also that as individuals, we would be light in our communities.
DAY 13/WEDNESDAY/MARCH 20
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (Matthew 5:13)
Yesterday, we prayed that we would shine light into dark places—that we would not hide our light under a basket but let it shine before all men. Today we consider the verse immediately preceding the one we prayed yesterday and pray that we would be the salt of the earth.
Salt’s primary purpose in the ancient world was as a preservative—it prevented decay and corruption in the food to which it was applied. However, if it became contaminated, it would cease to serve that purpose. Craig Blomberg writes,
Christians must permeate society as agents of redemption…. to arrest corruption and prevent moral decay in their world. … Believers who fail to arrest corruption become insignificant as agents of change and redemption. Christianity may make its peace with the world and avoid persecution, but it is thereby rendered impotent to fulfill its divinely ordained role. It will thus ultimately be rejected even by those with whom it has sought compromise.
Pray that our desire to be active in our community would not lead to compromise. Pray that we would lovingly speak truth and truly express love. Pray that we would serve as a preservative for the community around us, arresting corruption and preventing decay. Pray that our community would be better off because we are in it.
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6, NIV)
DAY 14/THURSDAY/MARCH 21
Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray, and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mt. 19:13-14)
I love the imagery of this passage: parents bringing their children to Jesus, and Jesus welcoming them, literally with open arms(Mt. 19:15). For parents who know Jesus Christ, there is nothing more natural than wanting their children to know him too. The disciples, however, were curmudgeons. The children were getting in the way and interfering were their ministry plans. It’s important to note who Jesus rebukes: it’s not the parents who want their kids to know him; it’s the disciples who want to keep them away.
Jesus has a heart for children. Elsewhere he says,
whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Mt. 18:5-6)
Pray that we would be a church who welcomes and loves children—even when they are noisy, messy, and get underfoot. Pray that God would open doors for us to minister to children and that we would be effective in doing so. Pray for our GCV Kid’s ministry. Pray for all who serve the young ones in our church, especially Christin Hunnicutt and Grace Ausley. Pray that he would raise up more volunteers to teach small children and to change diapers in the nursery. Pray that we would receive children in Jesus’ name and not cause them to stumble. Pray that our church would be a safe place for children.
Finally, pray also for the children in our community—that they would be loved, safe, and that through our church or some other means, they would come to know Jesus.
DAY 15/FRIDAY/MARCH 22
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. … each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself (Ephesians 5:25-27, 33)
Paul reveals that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and his Church(Eph. 5:32), which means that his commands for husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands (Eph. 5:33) are rooted in the gospel itself. They would have been as countercultural when Paul wrote Ephesians as they are now.
Pray that husbands in our church would love their wives as Christ loves the church—with a sacrificing and sanctifying love. Pray that they would consider their wives’ interests before their own.
DAY 16/SATURDAY/MARCH 23
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. … the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22, 33)
The command for wives to submit to their husbands(1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Pet. 3:1-2) has often been misconstrued, by Christians and non-Christians alike. The wife is not a slave or a servant (the word translated “helper” in Genesis 2:20 is more like a partner than an assistant), nor is she in any way inferior to the husband, but his equal (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 7:3-5). The context for Ephesians 5:22 is Ephesians 5:21, where Paul writes,
and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
All Christians, including those who are married to each other, are called to mutual submission. We are all commanded to …
regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul highlights the wife’s duty to her husband in this area; just as he highlights the husband’s duty to love his wife. He in no way means that the wife does not need to love her husband, nor that the husband does not need to submit to and respect his wife. The Christian life, including marriage, is characterized by mutual submission and love.
Pray, therefore, that marriages in our church would be characterized by mutual love, submission, and respect.